Suspended National Football League quarterback Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons has been sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in an illegal dogfighting operation. He also received three years probation.
Vick had pleaded guilty in August to felony federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. In his written plea, he had admitted to helping kill six to eight pit bulls and supplying money for gambling on dogfights.
The NFL had already suspended him indefinitely without pay and Vick has already voluntarily served one month in jail. Judge Henry Hudson's 23-month sentence exceeded the prosecution's recommended sentence of 12 to 18 months.
Among the reasons Hudson gave for imposing the longer sentence was Vick's positive drug test for marijuana in September.
The judge said he had received more letters and e-mails on this case than any other one he has heard in Virginia, Vick's home state where he housed his dogfighting operation.
Two of Vick's co-defendants were sentenced last week, with one receiving 21 months and the other 18 months in prison.
Vick had been one of the NFL's most popular and highest paid players, earning an average of about $13 million per year. He had a dynamic style as a quarterback whose dashing runs were talked about more than his passing skills.