FLOWERY BRANCH - Once the draft is completed this weekend, the Atlanta Falcons will be eager to learn if quarterback Michael Vick knew about an alleged dogfighting ring at a home he owns in Virginia.
The organization made its first public comment on the case on Saturday when general manager Rich McKay and coach Bobby Petrino met with the media after the Falcons selected Jamaal Anderson with their first-round pick.
McKay said he hasn't had time to study the case because of preparations for the draft.
''I don't want to say I've neglected it, but it's not something I've been able to focus on,'' he said. ''I do want to get further into it and focus on it next week.''
Vick denied any involvement in the case Friday, blaming relatives for taking advantage of his generosity. The quarterback claimed he has never been to the home, even though he owns it.
Officers searched the home after Vick's cousin, who lives there, was arrested in a drug investigation.
They found neglected animals and evidence of dog fighting, including veterinary medications, treadmills for training and blood-soaked carpets similar to the ones used in fight pits.
Authorities said the initial investigation had nothing to do with Vick, but animal-rights groups quickly seized on his ties to the case. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the Falcons to suspend the quarterback immediately and kick him off the team if charges are filed. The Humane Society said it's heard for years that Vick was involved in dog fighting, which is banned nationwide and a felony in 48 states, including Georgia and Virginia.
''There's a lot of people around Michael, and things happen,'' McKay said. ''We've got to get it the point where those things are not happening.''
Petrino, hired away from Louisville after Jim Mora was fired, got the job largely because the Falcons feel he can turn Vick into a more well-rounded quarterback.
''We definitely want to deal with the other issues,'' Petrino said.
''To have the type of success he wants to have, we have to make sure he deals with them right away, puts them aside and focuses on being the best quarterback he can be.''
Both McKay and Petrino said they are very pleased with Vick's work ethic during the offseason. But he's run into several embarrassing episodes away from the practice field and weight room.
Vick was stopped at the Miami airport carrying a water bottle with a secret compartment, and he failed to show up for a scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill to lobby for after-school programs.
''With respect to the offseason, what he's done here in this building, he's never had a better offseason as a leader,'' McKay said.
''He's done a lot of good things.''
Vick was in New York to attend a ceremony honoring the victims of the shooting spree at Virginia Tech, his alma mater. He did not address the dogfighting case.