Michael Vick sentenced to 23 months in prison for dogfighting

by Brian Mooar
NBC News

Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will spend 23 months in federal prison.

The fallen NFL star appeared to be a humbled man as a federal judge sentenced him on a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge Monday.

The suspended quarterback accepted responsibility, and apologized to his family and the court.

Judge Henry Hudson said Vick owed the apology to millions of youngsters who idolized him.

"When Michael gets a second chance either in society or in the NFL he will take advantage of it.  For now he has closed this chapter of his life and he is prepared to start another one," said attorney Billy Martin after the sentencing.

The sentence was months longer than federal prosecutors had requested.

Vick still faces a trial on state dogfighting charges.

He admitted in August that he bankrolled a dogfighting operation out of his rural Virginia home, and helped kill as many as eight dogs that didn't perform well.

Dozens of dogs were found buried on his property.

Dozens more were confiscated and soon they'll be handed over to a Utah animal sanctuary.

Vick agreed to set aside nearly a million dollars to care for the dogs for life.

His own future is less certain.

The NFL suspended him indefinitely without pay.

The big money endorsements are gone as well.

Once a millionaire megastar on the gridiron, Vick is now an inmate hoping for redemption.

When his sentence is complete Michael Vick will be 29 years old and the 2009 football season will already be underway.