When the United Football League debuts in October, Michael Vick could be one of its players.
Michael Huyghue, the commissioner of the new four-team league, says the UFL is willing to give Vick a place to play — provided there are no pending legal issues. His rights belong to the Orlando franchise.
"One of the things that is important in our premiere season is to showcase the quality of talent and the coaches, and to be able to show outstanding players who find themselves in this quagmire the NFL creates," Huyghue said. "Michael Vick might be that kind of player because he is ... a phenomenal talent, but he needs transitionining back into the NFL.
"Also gaining as much widespread exposure for the league as possible might be addressed with Michael Vick."
Huyghue said he will monitor the Vick situation closely and "if he is free and clear of legal issues, we will look at the situation."
Vick already has served an 18-month sentence in federal prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. He is under home confinement until July 20, after which the NFL is expected to announce whether the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback will be suspended.
Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, has not played football since the 2006 season.
The UFL will have teams in Orlando, New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, playing games mostly on Thursday nights in October and November. The championship game will be Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.
Orlando acquired UFL rights to Vick in an allocation draft of players not under contract in the NFL.
"I don't know if the NFL will suspend Vick," said Dennis Green, coach of the San Francisco team and the chairman of the UFL's competition committee — a role he also held while coaching in the NFL. "What he did was very wrong, and he paid his debt to society. He was a model inmate, otherwise he never would have made it out from prison early.
"Now he has to show he loves the game and is a responsible citizen. You can't show you love the game if you're not able to play the game. So if Michael Vick were to say, `I will play for not a lot of money,' well, hello. We're here.
"If he is not allowed back into the NFL and he wants to show he is a model citizen and he loves the game, there is not a better situation for him."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league would have no comment. Joel Segal, Vick's agent, did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press.
While it sounds as if Vick will be welcomed into the UFL, Huyghue would not address the situations of Plaxico Burress, Donte' Stallworth or other NFL players with legal problems.
"Every player will have to be unique and different," he said.
Green reiterated there have been no UFL discussions about those players, and he emphasized the UFL will not be an outlaw league.
"We don't want to be known as a league where if guys are in trouble, that is where you go," Green said.
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