NFL notebook: Michael Vick gets rich new contract; Benson gets jail time

Published: Monday, Aug. 29 2011 11:41 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2010, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick looks on during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. After missing two seasons serving a federal sentence for dogfighting, then spending most of the previous year as a seldom-used backup in Philadelphia, Vick was back at his best in 2010 and was selected as The Associated Press 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.

Paul Sancya, File, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick is really back on top now.

Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles agreed on a six-year contract on Monday that again makes the Pro Bowl quarterback one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.

A source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press the deal is worth $100 million, including about $40 million guaranteed. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because terms weren't released.

Vick has come a long way since spending 18 months in federal prison on dogfighting charges. He led the Eagles to the NFC East title last year, was the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl and was the AP Comeback Player of the Year.

"I'm very happy we were able to reach an agreement with Michael on this long-term contract," Eagles coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "It's a product of all the hard work Michael has done to better himself over the last couple of years, both on and off the field. I'm very proud that he has been able to achieve success again in this league, but he'll be the first one to tell you that there is a lot of work yet to be done by him and this team as a whole.

"And there's no doubt in my mind that he will continue on that path."

Vick was due to earn slightly more than $16 million this season after the Eagles designated him the franchise player in February. He'll make a little less, possibly giving the Eagles salary cap flexibility to give Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson an extension.

The 31-year-old Vick joined the Eagles in 2009, and played sparingly as the third-string QB behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb. He started last year as the backup, but forced his way into the starting role with his exceptional performances after Kolb got hurt in the season opener.

Vick guided the Eagles to an 8-3 record in 11 games as a starter in his first season playing full-time since 2006. He set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). Vick also rushed for 676 yards.

Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, once was a megastar with the Atlanta Falcons. He signed a $130 million, 10-year deal in 2005 that made him the top-paid player in the league then. But Vick lost it all when he went to jail and he eventually filed for bankruptcy.

He was reviled by fans when he came back, but has won them over with good behavior off the field, a humble attitude and spectacular play.

BENGALS' BENSON GETS 20 DAYS IN JAIL: Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was sentenced to 20 days in jail Monday after reaching a deal to settle two misdemeanor assault cases in Texas.

Benson said he will surrender to authorities on Oct. 17, which is the Monday of Cincinnati's bye week.

"This was a difficult decision for Mr. Benson," said Sam Bassett, the running back's attorney. "His priority right now is to get back to work and put these legal matters behind him."

Benson's jail time could be significantly shorter than the sentence. He could be given credit for any time served when he was arrested and state law requires inmates be given two days credit for every day they are rewarded for good behavior. Jail overcrowding also could shorten his stay.

But for now, the Bengals must make plans to be without their leading rusher. They declined comment Monday.

Benson was arrested in 2010 for allegedly punching a bar employee in Austin, an incident that earned him a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last year but resulted in no punishment. He pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with injury in that case.

He also was arrested last month for allegedly punching a former roommate in downtown Austin. He pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with bodily injury with family violence, and that will be dismissed if he performs 30 hours of community service and pays an undisclosed amount of restitution to the victim.

"We're pleased that Mr. Benson took responsibility for his actions today and we think this was a just result given the facts of the case," said Corby Holcomb, assistant trial director with the Travis County Attorney's Office.

The 28-year-old Benson was Chicago's first-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2005. He had two alcohol-related arrests with the Bears, who let him go in 2008.

He signed as a free agent with the Bengals and led them in rushing each of the last three years — 747 yards in 2008, 1,251 yards in 2009 and 1,111 yards in 2010.

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