RICHMOND, Va. -- Michael Vick pleaded guilty Monday to a federal dogfighting charge and awaited a Dec. 10 sentencing date that could send the NFL star to prison.
The plea by the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback was accepted by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who asked: "Are you entering the plea of guilty to a conspiracy charge because you are in fact guilty?"
Vick replied, "Yes, sir."
Hudson emphasized he is not bound by sentencing guidelines and can impose the maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.
"You're taking your chances here. You'll have to live with whatever decision I make," Hudson.
Vick will make a statement at 11:30 a.m. ET, his attorney, Billy Martin, said Monday.
"He will tell the world his thoughts and his feelings with regard to this charge," Martin said.
"Michael, when he makes this statement, will be brief."
In his written plea filed in federal court Friday, Vick admitted helping kill six to eight pit bulls and supplying money for gambling on the fights. He said he did not personally place any bets or share in any winnings.
The NFL suspended him indefinitely and without pay Friday after his plea agreement was filed. Merely associating with gamblers can trigger a lifetime ban under the league's personal conduct policy.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that Vick stands to lose approximately $100 million because of his conviction.
In announcing the suspension, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell opened the way for the Falcons to attempt to recover $22 million of Vick's signing bonus from the 10-year, $130 million contract he signed in 2004.
Federal prosecutors recommended 12-18 months in prison.
"A first-time offender might well receive no jail time for this offense," U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said in a statement. "We thought, however, that the conduct in this conspiracy was heinous, cruel and inhumane" so three of the four defendants, including Vick, should receive harsher sentences.
The first defendant to plead guilty left the conspiracy in 2004 and is not as culpable, he said.
The case began in late April when authorities conducting a drug investigation of Vick's cousin raided the former Virginia Tech star's rural Surry County property and seized dozens of dogs, some injured, and equipment commonly used in dogfighting.
Vick's plea came hours before the Falcons are scheduled to play an exhibition game at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. This will be the first chance for the team to see what effect Vick's case has on attendance at the Georgia Dome. Vick wears the biggest-selling jersey in team history and is given much credit for the team's 51 consecutive sellouts.
After initially denying his involvement, Vick has said little publicly about the case. Privately, he met with Goodell and Falcons owner Arthur Blank when the investigation was just beginning, and almost certainly lied to both.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.