NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Michael Vick said Thursday that he is getting close to signing with a professional football team but refused to elaborate.
Vick made the comment to reporters as he left a courtroom after a hearing in his bankruptcy case. Asked about his progress in signing with a team, Vick said: "We're getting close." He declined to answer additional questions.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated Vick on Monday, a week after the former Atlanta Falcons star completed his 23-month sentence for running a dogfighting ring.
Vick, 29, is free to sign with a team and could be playing in the NFL by week six.
On Thursday, Vick was at a hearing on his bankruptcy case. Reporters asked him as he left court if he was making any progress on signing with a professional team.
Vick did not speak during the hearing. Afterward, the U.S. bankruptcy trustee and a lawyer for Vick's creditors shook Vick's hand and congratulated him on his NFL reinstatement. Vick thanked them and said, "It's exactly what I needed at this point in my life."
The news comes a day after Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn told the press he wouldn't sign Vick "at this juncture." Several other teams already had voiced similar opinions.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro postponed until Friday a decision on whether to approve $1.5 million in legal fees sought by Crowell & Moring, the Madison Avenue law firm representing Vick in the Chapter 11 case. Santoro was astonished that the firm is billing Vick for 8,000 hours of work over about 10 months.
"I don't understand how that happens," said Santoro.
Vick's local attorney, Paul Campsen, said New York attorneys Michael Blumenthal and Peter Ginsberg were unable to attend the hearing because bad weather held up their flight. Santoro said he wants an explanation of the hours on Friday, when he will conduct a hearing on Vick's bankruptcy plan.
Crowell & Moring originally sought more than $2.6 million, but agreed to slash the amount to $1.5 million after the U.S. trustee and attorneys for one of Vick's major creditors, Joel Enterprises Inc., complained in court papers that the fees were excessive.
Vick filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2008 while he was serving his sentence in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. The former Virginia Tech star spent the last two months of his sentence on home confinement in Hampton.