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Court backs judge in Michael Vick bonus case

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge David Doty's order saying the former Atlanta quarterback could keep more than $16 million in roster bonuses from the Falcons.

November 11, 2009|Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Tuesday backed the judge who ruled against the NFL and let quarterback Michael Vick keep more than $16 million in roster bonuses from the Atlanta Falcons.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed Judge David Doty's order saying Vick had already earned the bonuses before his dogfighting conviction, so the money wasn't subject to forfeiture.

Vick served 18 months in prison and is now with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Doty has long handled matters arising from the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. After Doty ruled in the Vick bonus case, the NFL accused him of bias and sought to end his oversight of its contract with the players union.

The appeals court said the contract should remain under Doty's oversight.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello did not say whether the league planned a further appeal, but he said the 8th Circuit upheld Doty's ruling on Vick's bonuses in large part because it found the contract's forfeiture language ambiguous.

Tomlin mum on Johnson

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin isn't saying if the team has any interest in Larry Johnson, the former Penn State running back who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Still, the Steelers' answer appears to be the same as it was in 2003: Johnson isn't in their plans.

Johnson, who has long wanted to play in Pittsburgh, was cut Monday after being suspended by Kansas City for the second time in a year. The Steelers have long stayed away from signing troubled players, and they appear to be set at running back with starter Rashard Mendenhall and backup Willie Parker.

Barton out for season

The Cleveland Browns have lost their leading tackler for the second time this season. Eric Barton was put on injured reserve because of an unspecified injury, leaving the Browns without their two starting inside linebackers for the last eight games this season. D'Qwell Jackson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery last month.

Etc.

The New England Patriots have signed linebacker Thomas Williams to the practice squad. The club says in a statement that Williams joins the eight-man practice squad after cornerback Kyle Arrington was promoted to the 53-man roster over the weekend. The 6-foot-1, 237 pounds Williams was originally a fifth-round draft pick by Jacksonville out of USC in 2008. He appeared in six games for the Jaguars as a rookie. . . . The Seattle Seahawks have added defensive end Derek Walker to their active roster and released wide receiver Mike Hass. Walker made Seattle's opening day roster out of training camp but was inactive in his only game this season on the active roster. He was released and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 15. Hass, a former star at Oregon State, was signed to Seattle's practice squad on Sept. 7 and to the active roster on Nov. 3.

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