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Falcons release Michael Vick

ATLANTA - The Michael Vick era in Atlanta is officiallyover.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the teamrelinquished its contractual rights to Vick on Friday.

"Michael remains suspended by the NFL," Dimitroff said."However, in the event NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decides toreinstate Michael, we feel his best opportunity to re-engage hisfootball career would be at another club."

The move was no surprise. Owner Arthur Blank has said Vick wouldnot return to the Falcons.

Goodell has not committed to reinstating Vick after thequarterback completes his 23-month sentence on July 20 for runninga dogfighting ring. Vick has been on home confinement in Virginiasince leaving federal prison in Kansas on May 20.

Even while making it clear Vick had no football future with theFalcons, Blank has said he would be available to assist Vick.

"Our entire organization sincerely hopes that Michael willcontinue to focus his efforts on making positive changes in hislife, and we wish him well in that regard," Dimitroff said Friday.

Vick was the Falcons No. 1 draft pick in 2001. He played sixseasons with the team, but the Falcons moved on by makingquarterback Matt Ryan their No. 1 pick last year. Ryan startedevery game as a rookie and led the Falcons to the playoffs.

Vick was the figurehead for the Falcons and, as a dual-threatquarterback, was one of the NFL's most dynamic stars from 2001-2006before his sudden downfall.

Goodell said last month he would not make a decision on Vickbefore the end of his sentence.

"Once he's concluded that, I will make a judgment based on whathe tells me and what I can determine from speaking to others and afinal background check on this and make a determination at theright time," Goodell said.

Speculation about Vick's NFL future started even before hisrelease from the Falcons.

Jim Mora, whose Vick-led team advanced to the NFC championshipgame in 2003, said this week he doesn't expect Vick to find a jobwith his Seattle team.

"I'll just say this for the record: We are very happy with thequarterbacks we have on our roster," Mora said. "We have nointentions of adding another player to our roster at this time. ...Just cut out the 'at this time,' because then people will speculatefor the next three months. We have no intentions of adding aquarterback to our roster."

Even as he hopes for reinstatement from Goodell and begins hissearch for another NFL home, Vick faces other pressing priorities,including his crumbled finances.

On Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro set a July 2deadline for Vick to submit a revised Chapter 11 plan. A hearing toconfirm or reject the plan was set for Aug. 27.

Santoro said that if the new plan fails to address theshortcomings that prompted him to reject the first one in April, hewill appoint an independent trustee to take over management ofVick's finances.

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