NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A judge rejected Michael Vick’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy on Friday, telling the suspended NFL star to rethink how he’ll pay back his creditors. The ex-Atlanta Falcons quarterback, who is serving a 23-month prison sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting operation, had outlined a plan during a hearing Friday based on the goal of returning to NFL football. Vick said he’s optimistic about being reinstated after he is released from prison and that he believes he can play professional football for another 10 years. But Judge Frank Santoro said there is no guarantee the league will have the 28-year-old player back, and suggested he start on a new plan by considering liquidating one or both of his Virginia homes and three cars he had planned to keep. The judge said a documentary deal indicates that Vick is building financial momentum, but the former player currently had too much debt and no proof he could come up with all the money creditors are demanding. The judge commended Vick for wanting to take charge of his finances by himself, but said it had taken months of accountants, trustees and lawyers working to unravel his assets in the first place. "No one is good at everything, but the fact, Mr. Vick, is you are perhaps extraordinary at your chosen profession, but that does not translate into financial sophistication,” said Santoro, who didn’t set a deadline for him to file a new plan. Earlier in the hearing, Vick told Santoro that his time in prison gave him a chance to think about the "heinous” act he committed and that he’s realized he needs to make some changes. "I can’t live like the old Mike Vick,” he told a courtroom filled with his family, friends and fiancee. "I was very immature. I did a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to do being a role model.” Vick is expected to be released from custody in July. He could be transferred to home confinement at his eastern Virginia home by late May, and his agent testified Thursday that he hopes Vick can return to the NFL by September. For that to happen, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would have to reinstate Vick, who was suspended indefinitely after he was indicted on the dogfighting conspiracy charge. Goodell has said he would consider Vick’s case after his release.
At a glance
About Michael VickVick was once one of the NFL’s highest-paid players, but lavish spending and poor investments, coupled with the backlash from his dogfighting case, led to his downfall. Vick filed for bankruptcy in July claiming assets of $16 million and debts of more than $20 million. Under the plan outlined Friday, Vick had intended to keep two houses in Virginia where his children, fiancee and mother live, along with three cars. The judge said it was commendable that he wanted to protect his family’s dwellings but suggested Vick buy a house more within his means. Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, said Thursday that he would try to negotiate a short-term contract filled with incentives for playing time and starts that could bring in millions.