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NFL | Informants allegedly link Vick, dogfighting

Informants have come forward saying they can link Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to dogfighting, the prosecutor in the Virginia case said yesterday.

Informants have come forward saying they can link Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to dogfighting, the prosecutor in the Virginia case said yesterday.

Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter said he has heard from about a half-dozen people claiming to have information about Vick's involvement in dogfighting, but he does not know if their claims have proven to be reliable.

A deputy sheriff in the county, W.R. Brinkman, is investigating the claims, Poindexter said.

Poindexter said a search warrant issued May 23 for the massive home Vick owned in the county still has not been executed because he wants to make certain that any search does not jeopardize the investigation.

The search warrant was issued after an informant told Brinkman there were as many as 30 dog carcasses buried on the property, and Poindexter said he was confident that evidence already seized from the home would be enough to hand down indictments.

The case began April 25 when police conducting a drug investigation raided the house Vick owned and found 66 dogs, 55 of them pit bulls. They also found items associated with dogfighting, including a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws.

Dogfighting is a felony in Virginia.

Vick, a registered dog breeder, has blamed relatives for taking advantage of his generosity and insisted he's rarely at the house.

Meanwhile, AirTran Airways of Atlanta ended its relationship with Vick, who has been a pitchman for the airline since 2004.

"Michael's contract expired May 8, and we decided to go in another direction," AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said.

The bar is closed. NFL clubs may no longer serve alcohol at team functions or on buses or flights, extending a ban that until now applied only in locker rooms. NFL owners and executives were told by commissioner Roger Goodell that the rule pertains not only to players but to owners, coaches and guests.

Concussion study. A study of more than 2,500 retired NFL players found that those who had at least three concussions during their careers had triple the risk of clinical depression as those who had no concussions.

Those who recalled one or two concussions were 11/2 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression, said Kevin Guskiewicz, research director of the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of Retired Athletes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that more than 300,000 athletes lose consciousness from concussions every year in the United States, and the total number of such concussions could be as high as 3.8 million.

Guskiewicz's study involved only those concussions suffered in the NFL.

Steelers coach is sorry. New Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Larry Zierlein apologized for accidentally e-mailing an explicit sex video to numerous NFL employees and league commissioner Roger Goodell.

It is uncertain if the Steelers or the NFL will discipline Zierlein, though team chairman Dan Rooney has talked to him.

The problem began two weeks ago, when Zierlein - a 61-year-old grandfather - intended to forward the video clip, which was e-mailed to him by another Steelers employee. However, he accidentally e-mailed the video to numerous league personnel.

"I'm not very good at these machines and I hit the wrong button," Zierlein said. "There's nothing else to say, no other explanation."