PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The decision to sign Michael Vick after Bruce Gradkowski’s injury is one that was very much debated internally by the Steelers.

He was convicted of running a dog fighting ring several years ago.

KDKA’s Bob Pompeani asked the Steelers’ Art Rooney II to explain what went into the that decision.

“First, we certainly respect the opinions of – that people have expressed on both sides and understand that point of view. We sat down with Mike before we signed him and really tried to evaluate his sincerity and what he’s done since he’s been back in the league with the other teams and came to the conclusion that he’s made a sincere attempt to reform his life and be a good family man, raising three children. So we were satisfied that he’s tried to do the right thing, he’s doing the right thing and so we felt like he is someone that we were comfortable having on the team,” said Rooney.

As for the fans who think the team shouldn’t have signed Vick:

“Well, again, respect people’s opinion on that and understand that opinion. I’ve had dogs all my life, I’m a dog lover myself so I’m not trying to defend anything that’s in Michael’s past. I think one of the things that impressed me in terms of what he said was that one of the things he’s proudest of, or one of the things he’s been involved with since getting back into the league and getting out of prison, was his effort to work with the Humane Society to get the laws changed to make dog fighting a felony. Frankly, I didn’t even know about that until he told me about it. So, like I said, I think he’s somebody who’s made a sincere attempt to make it right. Again, certainly understand people’s opinions on that. And I hope that as people understand that part of what he’s been doing with his life, that they’ll give him another chance,” Rooney added.

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