Goodell gives Vick go-ahead to play after third week

Published 2:40 am Friday, September 4, 2009

NEW YORK — Michael Vick got the green light for full reinstatement in the NFL on Thursday when commissioner Roger Goodell said the disgraced quarterback could play later this month instead of waiting until October.

Vick, recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, will now be able to play in the Sept. 27 game at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. It would be his first regular-season game since he was sent to prison for his role in operating a dogfighting ring. The former Atlanta Falcons star was released from federal custody July 20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence.

‘‘I’ve been doing everything I could, just trying to do all the right things and make sure I just stay on course,’’ Vick said. ‘‘I’m happy with the decision.

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Originally, Goodell said he would consider Vick for reinstatement no later than the sixth week of the season — Oct. 18.

‘‘I think he’s making real progress,’’ Goodell said at a news conference. ‘‘I think he has a better feel for the challenges ahead of him.