HAMPTON, Va. — After Michael Vick's frenzied first couple of hours at home — probation officers stopped by and his attorney briefly addressed the media horde camped out in the cul-de-sac — things seemed to settle down outside the house.
The media ranks thinned out, and the curious onlookers who had lingered into the early morning hours hoping to get a glimpse of the suspended NFL star were long gone. With the first meeting with local probation officers out of the way, inside the house Vick reunited with his family — before the work of rebuilding his life can begin in earnest.
"He is obviously delighted to be home," his Virginia-based attorney, Lawrence Woodward, told reporters.
There was no word directly from Vick. Woodward said the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback remains a federal inmate as he serves two months of home confinement to complete his 23-month sentencing for a dogfighting conspiracy, and he cannot speak to the media without permission from the Bureau of Prisons. Efforts to get permission are under way, he said.
Vick also remained mostly out of sight, arriving in a sport utility vehicle with blackout curtains. The SUV, leading a four-vehicle caravan carrying a security team and others, cruised directly into a side garage. Later, Vick emerged only briefly, accompanied by a probation officer on the deck behind the five-bedroom house as they tested the electronic monitor Vick will wear for two months.
Woodward said Vick's first meeting with probation officers went well. Vick will have to check in periodically with probation, perhaps as early as Friday. He also will soon start his $10-an-hour job as a construction laborer — a condition of his probation.
In his limited ventures outside the home, Vick could come across people like Shaun Brantley of Chesapeake, who brought his 4-year-old pit bull Caesar to Vick's neighborhood as a reminder of the dogs killed in the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting operation.
"It's really inhumane what he did," said Brantley, 30. "He deserves a whole lot more than what he got."
Jason Boesen of Hampton, who wore a No. 7 Vick Falcons jersey, took the opposite view.
"Everyone deserves a second chance," said Boesen, 23. "There's people in the NFL that have done worse than him."
While there were no signs welcoming the fallen star back to the home he will share with his fiancee and children, neighbors seemed relieved that the gathering wasn't larger.
Doug Walter, who lives two doors away, said he was pleasantly surprised when he got home from work to find only media on the street, and not the "radical element" he feared.
A criminal defense attorney and self-described dog lover, Walter said he cringed at some of the details of violence against animals that came out in the case, but also believes that Vick deserves a second chance at football and hopes that he wins reinstatement to the NFL.
"I think that he has paid the penalty — a rather steep penalty — which our system deemed appropriate, and I think he should be allowed to move on with his life," Walter said.
Vick's ultimate goal is to convince NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that he is truly sorry for his crime and that he is ready to live a different life. Goodell has said those are the main factors that will guide his decision on whether to lift Vick's indefinite suspension.
"I definitely support his efforts at re-entering society and hope the public understands he's paid his debt, and I know he's remorseful," Tennessee Titans tight end Alge Crumpler, a former Vick teammate, said Thursday. "Nothing I can say matters. It's all about Mike's actions, what he does, how people perceive the things that he does and how he reaches out and tries to help people understand the things that he's lost."
If Vick is reinstated by Goodell, one team he won't get a shot with is Jacksonville. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said Thursday that he is "not interested" in Vick.
After 19 months in prison, Vick left Leavenworth early Wednesday morning unnoticed by reporters who staked out the facility. He traveled the 1,200 miles to his Hampton home in about 28 hours to get to the home, which he will share with his fiance, Kijafa Frink, and their two children — the youngest of whom, London, was born just before he went to prison.
Vick can accelerate his attempts to repair his image even more after he is released from federal custody July 20. Among other things, he has said he will partner with the Humane Society of the United States assisting the animal rights group in a program to eradicate dogfighting among urban teens.