The Associated Press
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - A judge in Virginia on Thursday approved Michael Vick's plan to repay creditors who are owed $20 million and emerge from bankruptcy on the same day he was scheduled to return to the playing field with the Philadelphia Eagles.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro approved the plan on the condition that Vick retain a personal financial planner to manage his future earnings with the Eagles.
Santoro said while Vick is "at the pinnacle of his profession," he has proven unable to manage his finances in the past. The plan was overwhelmingly approved in a ballot of creditors.
After the hearing, Vick was scheduled to return to Philadelphia to make his debut with the Eagles in a preseason game.
Vick was released from federal custody July 20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence for his role in running a dogfighting ring. He signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Eagles, who hold a $5.2 million option for a second season.
Creditors ranging from banks holding mortgages on Vick houses to his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, endorsed Vick's plan to repay them based on future earnings and the sales of assets, including houses, cars and investments. Debtors representing $132,743 rejected the plan.
A payment plan outlined before Vick's signing with the Eagles would give creditors 10 percent of the first $750,000 a year Vick earns. He would be allowed to keep one house in Virginia, a luxury SUV and other possessions under the plan.
The creditors have previously signaled their support of Vick's repayment plan, though Santoro had expressed skepticism of Vick's ability to repay his debt before he was signed by the Eagles.
A lawyer representing one group of creditors on Wednesday called Vick's signing "a huge development in the case."
Vick is eligible to play the final two preseason games, but not in the regular season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by no later than Week 6, in mid-October.
Besides his creditors, Vick ultimately will face legal bills approaching $2 million for his bankruptcy team.