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Vick girds for proving himself, visits probation officer
Updated 5/26/2009 12:52 AM ET
HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — After Michael Vick's first few frenzied hours at home, things seemed to settle down.

The media ranks thinned out, and gawkers were leaving after lingering into the early morning hours Thursday, hoping for a glimpse of the suspended NFL star.

Once the meeting with local probation officers was out of the way, Vick finally was reunited with his family.

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"He is obviously delighted to be home," his Virginia-based attorney, Lawrence Woodward, said.

And so ended the 28-hour, 1,200-mile journey that began early Wednesday in Leavenworth, Kan.

On Friday morning, Vick walked into a federal courthouse in Norfolk for an hour-long meeting with his probation officer. Vick arrived in a Range Rover driven by his fiancee, Kijafa Frink. She let him out near the front door and Vick walked silently past cameras. He was wearing jeans, a light blue shirt and a dark blue blazer.

Vick made no statements to reporters and didn't acknowledge a few onlookers who shouted encouragement. "Keep your head up, Mike," one yelled.

Vick arrived home Thursday after a 1,200-mile car trip from Leavenworth, Kan., and within hours had his first meeting with probation officials, who fitted him with an electronic monitor. Vick must wear the device during his two-month home confinement, which will complete his 23-month sentence for operating a dogfighting ring.Next week, he is expected to begin a his $10-an-hour construction job for the W.M. Jordan Co.

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The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback remains a federal inmate, serving two months of home confinement to complete his 23-month sentence for running a dogfighting ring. He cannot speak to reporters without permission from the Bureau of Prisons. Efforts to get permission are underway, Woodward said.

Vick arrived home on Thursday morning in a black sport-utility vehicle with blackout curtains, part of a four-vehicle caravan carrying a security team and others, and cruised directly into a side garage. Later, he briefly appeared on the deck of his five-bedroom home, as he and a probation officer tested the electronic monitor Vick will wear for two months.

In his limited ventures outside the house, Vick might run into people like Shaun Brantley of Chesapeake, Va., who brought his 4-year-old pit bull, Caesar, to Vick's neighborhood — a reminder of the dogs killed in the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting operation.

"It's really inhumane what he did," Brantley said. "He deserves a whole lot more than what he got."

Jason Boesen of Hampton, Va., who wore a No. 7 Vick Falcons jersey, took the opposite view.

"Everyone deserves a second chance," he said. "There's people in the NFL that have done worse than him."

While there were no signs welcoming the fallen star back to the home he will share with his fiancee and two children, neighbors seemed relieved the gathering wasn't larger.

Doug Walter, who lives two doors away, said he was pleasantly surprised when he got home from work to find only media members on the street, and not the "radical element" he feared.

A criminal defense attorney and self-described dog lover, Walter said that while he cringed at the details of animal abuse, but also believed Vick deserved a second chance and hoped the NFL reinstated him.

"I think that he has paid the penalty — a rather steep penalty — which our system deemed appropriate, and I think he should be allowed to move on with his life," Walter said.

Vick's ultimate goal is to convince NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he is sorry and ready to live a different life. Goodell has said those are the main factors that will guide his decision on whether to lift Vick's indefinite suspension.

"I definitely support his efforts at re-entering society and hope the public understands he's paid his debt, and I know he's remorseful," said Tennessee Titans tight end Alge Crumpler, a former Vick teammate. "Nothing I can say matters. It's all about Mike's actions, what he does, how people perceive the things that he does and how he reaches out and tries to help people understand the things that he's lost."

The Atlanta Falcons have already said Vick won't play for them again, and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said he wasn't interested, either.

Vick will be released from federal custody July 20.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted 5/21/2009 9:10 AM ET
Updated 5/26/2009 12:52 AM ET
Michael Vick walked past reporters and cameras for a Friday morning meeting with his probation officer at the federal courthouse in Norfolk, near his home in Hampton, Va.
By Steve Helber, AP
Michael Vick walked past reporters and cameras for a Friday morning meeting with his probation officer at the federal courthouse in Norfolk, near his home in Hampton, Va.