While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would not define Tuesday what "near future" meant in terms of a decision on suspended quarterback Michael Vick, sources say that a meeting with Vick could take place by Thursday or Friday, likely resulting in a conditional reinstatement next week.
Under a scenario involving conditional reinstatement, Goodell would reserve the right to extend or further define Vick's indefinite suspension but allow him to attend training camp if he is signed with an NFL team, sources said. A conclusive reinstatement, or additional suspension, for the 2009 season would be expected before Sept. 1, the first mandatory date for roster cuts.
The time and location of Goodell's meeting with Vick was still being finalized, sources said.
A league spokesman said the NFL will remain mum on specifics, other than what Goodell briefly addressed Tuesday when he told reporters he expected a decision in the "near future."
Another league source labeled a conditional reinstatement "smart speculation" but said Goodell could choose another option, especially if the commissioner does not feel his meeting with Vick is positively productive.
Goodell's decision could be made by Tuesday and he probably will not delay it beyond next week, barring new information being made available to him, a source said.
Vick's agent, Joel Segal, said, "Absolutely no comment."
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith met with Vick on Tuesday night in the Washington, D.C., area, NFLPA assistant executive director George Attalah confirmed to ESPN. He said what was discussed "will remain confidential for now."
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst. Sal Paolantonio is ESPN's bureau reporter based in Philadelphia.