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Pressure is on Vick to accept plea deal

From the Associated Press

Prosecutors have more leverage against Michael Vick now that his remaining two co-defendants decided to plead guilty while he has maintained his innocence in a federal dogfighting conspiracy case.

“He’s hanging out there by himself, and that’s a very uncomfortable place to be,” said Anne Coughlin, a University of Virginia School of Law professor and expert on criminal procedure.

A spokesman for Vick’s lawyers declined to comment Tuesday on reports quoting unnamed sources as saying prosecutors and the defense were negotiating a possible plea agreement, and that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback faced a Friday deadline to accept a deal or face additional charges.

But the spokesman, Collins R. Spencer III, didn’t rule out the possibility of an announcement by the Vick team sometime this week, probably in Richmond, Va., where the case is pending in U.S. District Court.

Spencer, contacted as he left the office of Vick attorney Daniel L. Meachum in Atlanta, would not elaborate on the nature of the possible announcement. Neither Meachum nor attorney William R. Martin, leader of the five-member defense team, returned phone messages.

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Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., is set to appear in federal court in Richmond on Thursday and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, on Friday.

Last month, co-defendant Tony Taylor of Hampton, Va., pleaded guilty to his role in a dogfighting conspiracy he says was financed almost entirely by the Atlanta Falcons quarterback. As part of a plea agreement, Taylor is required to cooperate with the prosecution in the case against Vick.

Oakland Raiders Coach Lane Kiffin underwent more tests in a hospital as he missed another day of practice while recovering from a viral infection.

Kiffin has been at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Calif., since Monday morning for tests and observation.

The hospital is not giving out information on his condition and the Raiders have said only that Kiffin “hopes to be back soon.” He is expected to return in time to coach Saturday’s exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Jaguars guard-tackle Stockar McDougle ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon and will be out for the season, the team’s second significant injury along the offensive line.

Jacksonville already was playing without starting center Brad Meester, who broke his right ankle two weeks ago and will sit out at least the first three games of the regular season.

The New York Jets and first-round draft pick Darrelle Revis were closing in on a deal that could end the cornerback’s lengthy training camp holdout.

Revis, taken 14th overall, and No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell are the only first-round draft choices unsigned.

The Jets expect Revis to compete for the starting job at right cornerback and be the team’s punt returner.

The NFL’s new guidelines on concussion management include a telephone hot line that will make it easier to report to the league when a player with a head injury is being forced to practice or play against medical advice.

The league’s new concussion guidelines, many of which stemmed from a conference in June involving team trainers and doctors, were formalized Tuesday and will be sent to all players and other team personnel.


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