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NFL: Investigation of Atlanta QB still under way

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The NFL has yet to complete its investigation of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who has been charged with operating a dogfighting ring on his Virginia property.

Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general retained by the league, is still gathering facts on Vick's alleged involvement in dogfighting, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday.

"The commissioner has not made any decision," Aiello said.

Commissioner Roger Goodell last month barred Vick from reporting to training camp and he can also use the NFL's personal conduct policy to suspend him for the 2007 season. A jury trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 26.

Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said he has not spoken with his players about Vick's troubles since camp opened.

"I'm not ready to respond to anything regarding Michael because I know nothing new," Petrino said.

Falcons running back Warrick Dunn, Vick's teammate since 2002, said he recently spoke with the 27-year-old quarterback to offer his support. Dunn added, however, that the players have no choice but to move ahead and prepare for the Sept. 9 season opener at Minnesota.

"I don't think anybody on this team right now is hoping that Mike comes back," Dunn said. "If he comes back, that's great, but I just think right now we're at a point where the guys that are here are trying to get better and move on down the road. Mike is going to be missed and has been missed, but at the same time you have to go on."

Federal investigators filed an indictment July 17 against Vick, Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va.; Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton. The indictment stated that a grisly dogfighting operation called "Bad Newz Kennels" was run on property he owned in Surry, Va.

All four pleaded not guilty July 26, but Taylor became a government witness four days later after changing his plea. Peace and Phillips have scheduled hearings to enter plea agreements on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Falcons general manager Rich McKay declined comment when asked about Vick's future with the team.

Vick was the NFL's No. 1 overall draft choice in 2001. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, he last year became the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. In December 2004, Vick signed a 10-year, $130 million contract, then the NFL's richest.

Public outrage over the alleged crimes caused Vick to lose endorsements or have contracts suspended with Nike, Reebok, Upper Deck and Rawlings, among others.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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