Michael Vick: "I became better at reading dogs than reading defenses"

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, center, talks to members of the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia about his new V7 apparel line at Modellís Sporting Goods, Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, center, talks to members of the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia about his new V7 apparel line at Modell's Sporting Goods, Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

(CBS News) It's been more than three years since quarterback Michael Vick ended his 21-month prison sentence on federal dogfighting charges. Now the NFL star is opening up about his involvement in the brutal activities.

The former Falcons quarterback, who has resurrected his career with the Eagles, says in a new book that when he was involved in dogfighting, he "became better at reading dogs than reading defenses."

In excerpts of his soon-to-be-released autobiography provided to USA TODAY, Vick admitted that he cared more about dogfighting than his NFL career.

"I may have become more dedicated to the deep study of dogs than I was to my Falcons playbook. I became better at reading dogs than reading defenses," he writes. "That's just so sad to say right now, because I put more time and effort into trying to master that pursuit than my own profession ... which was my livelihood ... which put food on the table for my family."

Vick also said that he was adept at lying with a straight face in a bid to get out of his legal jam.

"Sad to say, Commissioner Goodell bought into what I was saying, and I think he truly believed me that I was telling the truth. I deeply regret not telling him the truth from the outset," Vick writes. "It was a very nervous time for me. I knew I was going to try to lie my way through the whole dogfighting case and see if money, good lawyers, and manipulating the system could get me out of the position I was in -- which was a terrible position."

The book "Finally Free," which Vick began writing in prison, will be released Sept. 4.

Vick received a hostile reception by many angry fans in Philadelphia three years ago, and he is still a polarizing figure in sports. According to a Forbes.com survey, he remains one of the most disliked athletes in America. But Vick has largely won over a skeptical public in Philadelphia. Last year, he lobbied Congress to pass an anti-dogfighting bill and he continues filming public service announcements to warn of the dangers of animal cruelty.

"It's all about proving to the kids, it's not how you start, it's how you finish," Vick said last week at the launch of his new clothing line. "It's still not over. I've still got to walk the straight line each and every day."

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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