NORFOLK, Va. — Michael Vick walked into a federal courthouse on Friday to meet his probation officer, ignoring questions from waiting reporters about his life under home confinement after being released from prison this week.
The suspended NFL star arrived at the Norfolk courthouse at 10. a.m., his first-known public appearance since he left a federal penitentiary in Kansas undetected early Wednesday and drove cross-country to arrive in Hampton early Thursday, where he began serving two months of home confinement.
The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback is serving a 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy.
Vick arrived at the courthouse in the passenger seat of a Range Rover driven by his fiancee, Kijafa Frink. She let him out near the front door and Vick walked silently past waiting cameras and reporters, ignoring questions about his first day home and his plans. Vick was wearing jeans, a light blue shirt and a dark blue blazer.
He left again after nearly an hour, with his fiancee and a lawyer in tow as he exited the courthouse. Vick again said nothing to waiting reporters before getting into the waiting Range Rover. One man in a crowd of bystanders yelled out, "Keep your head up, Mike!"
Vick returned to his Hampton home a little more than six hours after departing. His attorney, Lawrence Woodward, said after Vick met with probation officials that he had "court obligations" in Surry County — where the dogfighting operation was discovered — and attorney meetings. Woodward added that Vick received permission from the court to attend to those matters.
Vick had previously met with probation officials. They came to his house Thursday to equip him with an electronic monitor so they can track his movements until he is released from federal custody July 20. The monitor was not visible under his clothes at the courthouse.
Vick had managed to remain mostly out of sight since returning home in a van equipped with blackout curtains.
But now that he has been outfitted with the electronic monitor, federal officials probably won’t be the only ones watching his movements.
As his first day at home wore on, Vick may have gotten a taste of what’s ahead.
One man twice ignored the "Private property. No trespassing" signs and rang the doorbell, telling family members over an intercom that he had come to pray with and minister to the fallen star. Another visitor wanting to see Vick claimed to be a friend of a friend named "Flattop." He, too, was turned away, but shouted "I love you, Mike" before leaving the porch, then immediately called a friend to boast he had just spoken with Vick.
Surrounded by family members and supporters celebrating his return, Vick also still had the security team that accompanied him on the trip looking out for him on Thursday.
Vick is likely to continue to encounter people who say he deserves a second chance as well as those who believe his crimes were so egregious that he should never be allowed to play again.
"It’s really inhumane what he did," said Shaun Brantley, 30, of Chesapeake, who spent hours outside Vick’s home Thursday with his pit bull. "He deserves a whole lot more than what he got."
There has been no word directly from Vick, and may not be for days.
Larry Woodward, his Virginia-based attorney, accompanied the probation officers to the home and explained afterward that the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback remains a federal inmate and cannot speak to the media without permission from the Bureau of Prisons.
Efforts to get permission are under way, Woodward said, but he gave no further information.