SBD/Closing Bell

State Of The NFL: Goodell Discusses Safety, HGH, Int'l Presence

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell touched on several key issues during his annual state of the league address, including the league’s continued efforts to improve player safety, HGH testing and an increased international presence. He said, “The changes we are making are having a positive impact. The game is exciting, competitive, tough and safer. We are making the game better while also evolving to a health and safety culture. That is a big priority.”

The NFLPA on Thursday announced a study showed 78% of players do not trust their teams’ medical staffs. Goodell noted the league met last week with NFLPA officials for several hours and the union did not bring up the results. He said, “They did raise the issue of making sure that we have the proper medical attention, but they didn’t raise those statistics. … I’m disappointed because I think we have tremendous medical care for our players. These are not just team doctors. These doctors are affiliated with the best medical institutions in the world.”

HGH testing, which was approved as part of the '11 CBA but yet to be implemented, “is going to happen prior to the 2013 NFL season,” according to the commissioner. Goodell: “It’s the right thing to do for the players, for their health and well-being long-term. It’s the right thing to do for the integrity of the game and it’s the right thing to do to send a message to everybody else in sports.”

Goodell noted the league will “take steps to ensure more diversity in our hiring practices.” None of the eight head coaching vacancies were filled by a minority despite the presence of the Rooney Rule, and Goodell said, “The results this year were simply not acceptable.” He added, “We have to see what the next generation of the Rooney Rule is. That’s going to have to come from conversations with a lot of people in this league.”

It was announced that the two games being held in London next year – 49ers-Jaguars and Steelers-Vikings – have sold out. Goodell said NFL owners “understand that this is a market where we need to be more active and that we need to continue to grow our game.” Playing another regular-season game in Mexico was brought up, and Goodell said, “We would like to be back there.” However, he did not offer any time frame for a return (NFL Network, 2/1).
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