Within hours of Madden NFL 10's midnight launch, NFL pariah Michael Vick was signed to a two-year contract with Philadelphia. Vick's not included on the retail version's roster, so an immediate question is, when will he be added?
Update: EA Sports Rob Semsey says, pending NFL and NFL Players Association approval, Michael Vick will be added in on the Philadelphia Eagles with Madden NFL 10's next roster update, which is scheduled for Aug. 19 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Other platforms will follow shortly thereafter.
Vick himself is, as of now, ineligible until Week 6 of the NFL season, per NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling on his readmission. Vick could be available sooner but no one's planning on it. The question was whether he would be available to Madden players before Goodell unconditionally reinstates him, and it appears now that he will be.
The original story follows:
EA Sports spokesman Rob Semsey told Kotaku:
We are currently working with the NFL and NFLPA on approvals and details regarding the addition of Michael Vick to the Philadelphia Eagles roster in Madden NFL 10. We are hopeful to make an announcement in the near future.
Vick, a former quarterback for the Falcons, was convicted in 2007 of running a dogfighting operation out of his Virginia home, and received prison time, which he recently completed. The Eagles took him presumably to feature him in a Wildcat offense, whose formations coincidentally appear for the first time in Madden NFL 10.
Interestingly, Plaxico Burress - indicted on weapons charges after shooting himself in the leg at a New York nightclub in November - was on the Madden roster and now is no longer. The roster that ships with the disc included Burress as a free agent, one of the top two unsigned (by player rating). The most recent online roster downloaded from EA does not have Burress in it at all. Burress is still technically eligible to play, although it's a virtual certainty either a suspension, his court case or jail time will take him out of the action. I pointed out the roster change to EA Sports and I'm waiting for a followup comment. Update: Which Semsey says will come soon.
Second Update: Semsey says the game's free agent roster has a fixed number of players it can include, and Burress was removed to make way for another unspecified player. It's an interesting decision, given Burress' high rating at a skill position, but EA Sports is probably betting that Burress gets suspended soon. And that's a good bet.
Also there's the matter of Donté Stallworth, the Browns receiver who was convicted of manslaughter charges for driving drunk and killing a pedestrian back in March. Yesterday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Stallworth for the entire season, even though he's completed his jail sentence of 30 days. That doesn't affect Madden NFL 10, as Stallworth was never on the roster, not for the Browns, not as a free agent.