ORLANDO, Fla. - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was consulted by Jets owner Woody Johnson before the team signed Michael Vick, said on Wednesday that Vick has become "a positive force" since returning to the NFL after spending nearly 19 months in prison on dog-fighting charges.
Goodell wouldn't divulge the contents of his discussions with Johnson, but the commissioner said he believes Vick has been successfully rehabilitated. Vick was out of the NFL in 2007-08 and then reinstated by Goodell before the 2009 season, when he began a five-year run with the Eagles.
"I think Michael is a young man who made a tragic mistake," Goodell said at the conclusion of the NFL owners' meetings. "He paid a very heavy price for it, but I've seen him in everything he's done exceed expectations. He has worked very hard to be a positive force in a lot of different areas, and that's something I admire about him."
Vick, 33, has worked the last several years with the Humane Society of the United States as an advocate for animal rights, and has spoken to many groups of young people about staying away from involvement in dog-fighting.
"When we went through the process of reviewing [his return to the NFL], whether he had demonstrated he would do things the right way and be a positive force, he has," Goodell said. "I'm proud of the work that he's done."