SBD/Issue 62/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Goodell Stresses Player Safety With Proposed 18-Game Schedule

Goodel Says There Has Been Positive Discussion
With NFLPA About Ways To Reduce Injuries

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “thinks a higher level of player safety can be achieved” in a new CBA “even as the injury-plagued league eyes expansion to 18 regular-season games,” according to Tom Pedulla of USA TODAY. Goodell said that there “had been positive discussions” with the NFLPA “concerning ways to reduce wear and tear on players.” Steelers WR Hines Ward recently “questioned the NFL's sincerity on player safety because of its desire to shorten the preseason while adding two more games to a regular-season schedule.” Goodell defended the league's position by saying, "We're playing a 20-game format right now. Unfortunately, players get hurt in the preseason also" (USA TODAY, 12/9). Goodell said yesterday that he is “hopeful the league will adopt new rules before next season to reduce the number of offseason workouts that teams are permitted to hold and restrict the amount of hitting by players in some practices during training camp, and possibly the regular season.” In DC, Mark Maske reports the NFL “has not made a firm commitment to a timetable for enacting the changes, which most recently have been discussed by the league and the union as part of their ongoing labor negotiations” (WASHINGTON POST, 12/9).

RIDDELL ME THIS: In N.Y., Michael O’Keeffe reports members of the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine Committee yesterday indicated that the league “should ditch its official helmet … because licensing deals imply that one manufacturer's equipment may be superior to helmets made by another company.” Riddell has been the NFL's official helmet licensee since ‘90, and the league “does not allow players to display other manufacturers' logos during games.” But players are “allowed to use any helmet that passes safety standards.” Dr. Robert Cantu, co-Dir of Boston Univ. School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, said that the NFL “should no longer have an official helmet” after its contract with Riddell expires in ‘14. But NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee co-Chair Dr. Richard Ellenbogen said the decision regarding a helmet licensing agreement won't be made by the committee, but by "higher-ups" in the NFL (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/9).

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