D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that Michael Vick entered a guilty plea to state dogfighting charges in Sussex County, Virginia. Vick is currently incarcerated stemming from his guilty plea from federal conspiracy charges.
Vick signed a plea agreement and will receive a three-year suspended prison sentence and a $2500 fine along with four years of probation. The fine will be waived if Vick pays court costs and maintains good behavior for the length of his probation.
Vick is scheduled to be released from federal prison in July 2009 but could become eligibile to have an early release six months prior and enter a halfway house.
Vick is still technically on the Falcons roster, but is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the NFL. There has been no word on a possible timetable if and when he can be reinstated by the league. Falcons owner Arthur Blank indicated earlier this month that he believes Vick should be reinstated and that he would encourage other NFL owners to sign him if available.
Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson will have a hearing for the league to hear his appeal tomorrow. Jackson has been suspended four games by the NFL due to a violation of the league’s steroid policy. Jackson took an illegal substance called Bumetanide, which can be used for weight loss as well as a masking agent for steroids.
Jackson tested positive for Bumetanide due to his taking of StarCaps diet pills. Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the company that manufactures StarCaps for false advertising and unfair business practices per the AJC.
While Jackson was suspended shortly after his positive test was first revealed in October, he has been able to still play for the Falcons since due to his appealing the suspension. After his hearing on Friday, he and the Falcons will know if his suspension will be dropped or upheld. If the suspension is upheld, Jackson won’t miss this weekend’s game against the Carolina Panthers. But instead will begin serving his suspension the following week and will not be available to play again until the final game of the season versus the St. Louis Rams on December 28.
Per a report by Jay Glazer during FOX’s pregame show on Sunday, Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson tested positive for a diuretic in a recent batch of the league’s testing for steroids and illegal substances. As such, Jackson will be subject for a four-game suspension.
The story was initially broken by Josina Anderson of Denver’s FOX 31 in that several NFL players tested positive for a diuretic called Bumetanide. Bumetanide is on the league’s list of banned substances due to the possibility that it can be used as a masking agent for other illegal substances. It is also used for weight loss. Jackson is listed at 345 pounds.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen followed up the report indicating that eight NFL players have pending cases in relation to this recent rash of positive tests. It is assumed that Jackson is among the eight. Including Jackson, seven players have been identified so far: running back Deuce McAllister, defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant all with the New Orleans Saints, defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, and Houston Texans long snapper Bryan Pittman.
The AJC reports that Falcons safety Lawyer Milloy was arrested for driving under the influence and speeding early Monday morning in Gwinnett County, Georgia. According to records, Milloy was booked around 4:30 am and posted bond at 9:48 am.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith indicated to the media on Monday that the situation will be handled internally by the team.
Pro Football Weekly reports that ex-Falcons safety Jimmy Williams has been suspended for five games this season by the NFL.
Despite his suspension, Williams can still sign and practice with a team, as the suspension only takes effect at the start of the regular season. No specific reason for why Williams was suspended, but it likely stems from his arrest for marijuana possession last year.
The Falcons released Williams in June. He had reportedly skipped some OTAs in May and also reported to mini-camp over 230 pounds. His listed weight in 2007 was 212 pounds.
Pro Football Weekly reports that the Falcons may release safety Daren Stone if he’s convicted of DUI, stemming from a June arrest. According to the report, the Falcons organization has become hypersensitive in the wake of Michael Vick’s legal troubles from a year ago about its players getting involved in on the wrong side of the law. Per an AJC report, Falcons head coach Mike Smith had this to say about Stone’s arrest back in June:
“There isn’t really anything I can say other than I’m disappointed, that is obvious. We’re disappointed as an organization. I spoke with Daren and again, any of those conversations I would like to keep private.”
The PFW report also indicates another reason which may prompt Stone’s untimely dismissal is the development of rookie Thomas DeCoud, who has gotten some limited work with the team’s first team defense at safety. Following the team’s decision to release safety Jimmy Williams last month, the team also signed veteran Deke Cooper, who started 15 games for the Carolina Panthers last season, which also prevents a glaring loss of depth if Stone is released.
Despite the team’s reported hypersensitivity, there is no indication that Michael Boley will lose his roster spot over his May arrest on battery against his wife.
The AJC reports that Falcons reserve safety Daren Stone was arrested in downtown Atlanta on early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence. He was released Sunday afternoon on bond. He will meet with team officials today per a Buffalo News report.
Stone was sixth round pick with the Falcons last season out of Maine. He was limited to mostly special teams work, finishing the season with 2 tackles on defense and 8 on special teams.
The AJC reports that Falcons linebacker Michael Boley was arrested on Saturday on battery charges and has been released on $1,200 bond.
Falcons officials indicated they are aware of Boley’s arrest, but have no comment. Boley last month signed a one-year restricted free agent tender worth over $2 million, and the team has been trying to give him a long-term extension.
Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that former Falcon offensive linemen Matt Lehr is under investigation for allegedly distrubuting performance-enhancing drugs. Lehr was last with the Falcons in 2006. According to Schmidt’s report, one unidentified player that currently plays on the Falcons has been subpoenaed to testify in front of the grand jury in Texas.
During 2006, Lehr was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, in relation to steroid use.
Lehr comes under investigation due to the guilty plea of David Jacobs, a personal trainer from Plano, TX this past November. Jacobs pleaded guilty to federal charges that he manufactured steroids in his home from raw materials imported from China and then distributed them through his connections as a trainer. Reportedly, Jacobs ran one of the largest steroid distribution networks in the Southwest. Jacobs indicated that he had close ties with certain members of both the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys. According to the Dallas Morning News, Lehr met Jacobs in the fall of 2006 which would coincide with his suspension.
Lehr’s lawyer indicates that he expects the charges to be dropped due to faulty information provided by Jacobs, and that Lehr has been fingered because of his refusal to pay Jacobs’s legal fees.
“We are confident that the more the feds look at Jacobs, the less credible of a source of information he becomes.”
– Paul Coggins, Lehr’s attorney
The AP reports that Michael Vick’s trial for charges brought by the state of Virginia has been rescheduled for June 27. Originally the trial was set for April 2, but due to bureaucratic issues such as transportation it was delayed. Vick is currently serving time in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.