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Vick will work construction job after prison, lawyer says

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- A lawyer for suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick told a bankruptcy court Thursday that his client has lined up a $10-an-hour construction job for when he's released from prison.

Vick, 28, appeared in court for the first time in his bankruptcy case to explain to a judge how he plans to emerge from his financial problems. Before the hearing began, Vick turned around to wave and smile at family members sitting in the courtroom. Vick is expected to testify before the proceeding wraps up Friday.

"You will hear from Mr. Vick his future intentions, how he's going to change the way he lives his life," his lawyer, Michael Blumenthal, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Santoro.

Vick's agent, Joel Segal, testified at the hearing and said he hopes the quarterback can be back in the NFL by September. Vick's bankruptcy plan was designed based on the goal of him returning to a professional football career.

Vick still must apply to be reinstated to the NFL. Vick hasn't yet done so, Segal said, and first plans to finish his 23-month prison sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting operation.

If Vick is allowed to return to the NFL, Segal said he'd try to negotiate a one- or two-year contract that would include incentives for playing time and a starting position. Segal also said when Vick tells him he's ready, they have a plan to get him working with strength and quarterback coaches.

Segal later told reporters that Vick "misses the game a lot" and has stayed in good shape.

Vick briefly left a federal prison in Kansas to attend the hearing. He's scheduled to be released from custody in July, but he could be sent to home confinement in late May.

Vick, once one of the NFL's highest-paid players, plans to work 40 hours per week for $10 an hour at one of W.M. Jordan Co.'s 40 commercial construction jobs, said John Robert Lawson. His father, Robert Lawson, helped start the Newport News company.

Lawson, 57, said that he has known Vick for more than 10 years and that they have been involved in charitable work together. He said Vick's representatives approached him when the former hometown hero was turned away by other employers.

"I believe all of us make mistakes, and once you've fulfilled your commitment and paid the price, you should be given a second chance," Lawson said in a telephone interview.

"He's not a bad person," Lawson added. "He made some bad choices."

In court, Segal also testified that Vick has agreed to plans for a television documentary that will pay him $600,000. Neither Segal nor his attorneys would elaborate on the project outside the courthouse.

Details about the brutality of Vick's dogfighting enterprise enraged the public and helped destroy his finances, which court records show already were in serious disarray because of lavish spending and poor investments.

Earlier this week, Vick and the Falcons agreed that he would pay back $6.5 million of his Atlanta contract, moving closer to cutting ties with a team that doesn't want him. But how and when Vick might begin a professional comeback isn't clear. Vick was suspended indefinitely after his 2007 indictment, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will review Vick's status after the quarterback is released from prison.

A committee representing most of Vick's unsecured creditors has endorsed his Chapter 11 plan because the alternative -- a Chapter 7 liquidation of his assets -- wouldn't provide them any portion of his future earnings. But some other parties, including a former agent who won a $4.6 million judgment against Vick, opposed the plan.

Under his bankruptcy plan, Vick would keep the first $750,000 of his salary, and creditors would receive part of any additional earnings.

Most objections to Vick's bankruptcy plan have been resolved, his lawyer said.

Among them is the U.S. Labor Department's complaint that Vick improperly spent $1.3 million from the pension plan of one of his companies, MV7, a celebrity marketing company. A settlement calls for Vick to waive his participation in the pension plan and restore some of the money.

Vick is eligible for transfer to home confinement with electronic monitoring around May 21. That would allow Vick to serve the last two months of his sentence at his Hampton home in eastern Virginia, one of two houses he would be allowed to keep under his bankruptcy plan.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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