Goodell: Making Sure the Game Remains Strong

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visited the Indianapolis Colts' training camp in Anderson yesterday, and he met with both the players and the media to discuss some of the issues facing the NFL ...

On the status of negotiations with regards to CBA:

"There are talks scheduled and they will continue meeting. We all wish there was more progress, but we know the challenge in getting something done here that is fair for every party."

On players feedback after meeting with them:

"These visits are designed to meet with the players, coaches, front office and probably some of the fans here. That's part of what I've done in all of these camps to try to get some dialogue going, try to hear some views. In the player meeting specifically we talk about player safety. We do address labor, but we recognize the context that they are not negotiating sessions. So there are a lot of things that can't be discussed in particular. We talked about the 18-and-2 format, we talk about those kind of concepts just so they can hear from me and I can hear from them."

On being seen as a player liaison or owner liaison:

"You will have to ask the players on that. I made it clear to them that my interest is making sure the game continues to remain strong and continues to grow and that I have an interest in having a Collective Bargaining Agreement that is good for all parties."

On various issues and discussions with players:

"The issue that has changed in the league over the last 15 years is the cost of operating and generating revenue, primarily in investments in stadiums, not only in construction, but also in the renovations of those facilities. There is the rookie pool. We should have another rookie compensation system that I think, that we all think is more appropriate. Retired players, signing bonus, forfeiture, ways in which to grow the game, the 18-and-2 concept, so there are a variety of things being discussed. HGH testing, which is, I think, an important issue for everybody."

On an 18-game schedule:

"I'm making sure that we analyze this clearly. I think if it is a solution or some version of an enhanced season, it has to be done in a comprehensive way. You have to look at the consequences; the unintended consequences to make sure you made the right steps to ensure the quality of our game stays strong and even gets better. And that's offseason workouts, which we spend a lot of time talking to players and coaches about prior to training camps. What has changed in our training camps? What needs to change further? The game is changing now. We have to figure out how we change with it and hopefully we make it better and safer."

On Rookie wage scale:

"I think there needs to be a change. I've said that going back quite a few years now. I think there has to be changes to that system, yes. I think the core of it is that you have money going to an individual that hasn't demonstrated success on an NFL field. I think you have to see that players that have performed on that field over there should be the ones that are rewarded."

On the belief a Super Bowl will be held in Indianapolis in 2012:

"I do believe there is going to be a Super Bowl in 2012, yes. If not, we will deal with it then, but right now we are working on that assumption."

On favoring "at home" training camps:

"I think it's a really positive change. In fact, that's one of the things Coach (John) Madden and I were talking about that you can't get from just talking to people on the phone. You just have to go see it. Several of the teams are having training camp in their year-round facility, like the Cleveland Browns who we just saw this week. Kansas City was one who was in Wisconsin coming back into an atmosphere like this, a local college. But it's closer to the fan base. I think that's a great thing because you see the crowd out there. We're doing that around the league. People want to see their team and be able to see how their team develops, and I think that's a great thing for the fans."

On thoughts on how the players feel about their meetings with him:

"This is not your collective bargaining process. I'm not there for collective bargaining so I make that point straight up that there are restrictions on what we can talk about in the context of labor and I can't circumvent that, nor would I."

On owners getting TV money even if there are no games:

"You're not finishing the sentence accurately. They have to pay the money back. Networks are not going to pay you for games you don't play. So, you have to pay the money back. I hear that question, but no one finishes the sentence. It's the way it's been structured for the past several decades. Money is obligated by the networks to be paid to the NFL and if the games aren't played, the product they are paying for, they want to be reimbursed for that, and that's a process we'll go through."

On HGH testing:

"Yes, it's been proposed for two reasons. One, the player's health and safety. Two, the integrity of the game. I think the testing, that's different from our current testing for performance enhancers, is that the only way to detect it is through blood testing. A lot of our other tests are done through urinalysis. So that's the difference. But there is a test that has been done on an international level that we've been in close contact with, and we're working to develop it. So I think we feel comfortable that it should be implemented at the league level."

On retired players:

"We have to do better. The great news is this weekend I've been in Canton, Ohio and I'm going back this afternoon. With all those great players and people who have contributed so much to our game, we need to do a better job."

On player's feelings on how he handles player conduct discipline:

"It's always an issue in collective bargaining. So my assumption is that it will be included, but we are looking at ways in which to modify some of our discipline on the field even in the short term which I think will bring some positive changes. So, we're always looking at ways in to improve the system."

On impression of the winning Colts team/winning record:

"It starts with an outstanding organization and system and outstanding players. I think you see that represented here in the Colts. (Colts owner and CEO) Jim Irsay, (Colts President) Bill Polian, (Colts Head) Coach (Jim) Caldwell has now taken over the reigns, and obviously they have a tremendous foundation in that locker room and out on the field from the players. That's a tribute to the way the organization has run their team."

On the Colts winning 12 games for seven consecutive seasons:

"I think in this system now where it is so competitive, and where the competitive balance in the league is at, I think, an all-time high, I think it makes their record over the last decade even more impressive."


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