Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's suspension has been reduced to the first two games of the NFL regular season, from six games, it was announced Thursday.
Vick met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday morning to discuss his penalty, the result of his conviction for operating a dogfighting ring.
He will be eligible to play in the regular season beginning Sept. 27 against Kansas City instead of Oct.18, the original date Goodell previously said he would consider for Vick's full reinstatement.
"I think he's making real progress," Goodell told reporters. "I think he has a better feel for the challenges ahead of him.
"He understands he has very little margin for error, that people are watching him."
Vick was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
"I've been doing everything I could, just trying to do all the right things and make sure I just stay on course," he said. "I'm happy with the decision."
Goodell met with Vick at the Eagles' hotel near Newark International Airport on Thursday before the Eagles' game versus the New York Jets.
"I think (Goodell) came out of it feeling very confident that Michael's doing the right things and is on the right track," Eagles president Joe Banner said before the game, in which Vick ran for a two-yard touchdown, was sacked four times, lost a fumble and was intercepted as the Jets beat the Eagles 38-27.
Vick finished 7-for-11 for 26 yards and carried the ball seven times for 35 yards.
"I think Michael wants to play as soon as he can," Banner said. " On the other hand, I think he thinks this was fair."
Eagles coach Andy Reid was also at the meeting between the commissioner and Vick.
"He definitely provided me with useful feedback," Goodell said. "He's very open about the challenges, you know, from his own personal experiences."
Reid's two sons have spent time behind bars on drug charges.
"He told me how Michael's doing and how he's incorporating into the team and the judgments he's making," Goodell said.
Vick, 29, spent 18 months in prison. He was released earlier this summer and signed in August with the Eagles after the NFL reinstated him.
He made a limited debut with his new team last week, his first NFL action since Dec. 31, 2006, when he was the star player of the Atlanta Falcons.
Protesters marked Vick's return to field
There were some protests from animal rights activists outside Philadelphia's at Lincoln Financial Field for his return.
Along with Kevin Kolb, Vick is expected to be a reserve to starter Donovan McNabb, while being featured on the occasional offensive play out of the backfield. Vick set a record in his last NFL season with 1,066 rushing yards, the most ever by a quarterback.
The first overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft, he has thrown 72 touchdowns and 52 interceptions, totalling 11,505 passing yards.
The Eagles hold an option to retain Vick next season under the deal that was struck. Vick will earn $1.6 million US this season, and $5.2 million if he is back with Philadelphia next season.
In addition to being on probation and having community service obligations as part of his sentence, Vick also faces financial troubles.
A federal bankruptcy judge recently approved a payment plan for Vick to pay off his creditors, owed an estimated $20 million. The quarterback's tab for the legal case is about $2 million.