Boston, Green Bay Mayors Both Compelled By Idea Of Hosting Future NFL Draft
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has "expressed an interest" in hosting the NFL Draft, and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is a "supporter of the idea," according to Mike Reiss of ESPN BOSTON. Kraft said, "I think we're privileged to have the only mayor in the United States of America who is a season-ticket holder of his NFL team. ... He's been a season-ticket holder here since we bought the team, so he's a real fan. Now that he knows the commissioner wants to move the draft around, he'd very much like to see part of it come to Boston, and we're going to try to be supportive" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 5/8). Meanwhile, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said of hosting the draft, "We're going to be all over this. We're going to do whatever we can to make this a reality" (JSONLINE.com, 5/8). SI.com's Don Banks cites a source as saying that the NFL "may not be quite ready to take the draft on the road next year." The league's "best shot to move the draft" in '15 "might be to Chicago." But the source said that a "cross-country relocation" to L.A. "doesn't appear to be in the cards so quickly." There are "other cities than those two who want to bid on the draft, like Dallas, but it's not known where their chances stand at this point." The NFL "may return to Radio City Music Hall next year, and it expects to know within a week or so whether the venue's schedule is going to jive with the league's plans" for the '15 draft. Banks: "Reading the tea leaves, it's pretty clear that commissioner Roger Goodell wants to take the draft on the road as soon as possible" (SI.com, 5/9).
WAITING GAME: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday spoke with ESPN's Chris Berman prior to the start of the NFL Draft. Berman said it was the "longest wait for a Draft" and asked whether the date would remain this time of year or move back to its normal time. Goodell said, "There are positives and negatives to everything. One of the things that really struck me when I was meeting with the draft eligible players, one of them put up his hand and said, 'You know, having it later allowed me to graduate on time.' There are a lot of factors you don't always think about." The "anxiety is pretty high" to get the draft started but "we just have to balance all those issues" ("SportsCenter Special: On the Clock," ESPN, 5/8).
STILL AT ODDS: New NFLPA President Eric Winston said that the NFL's plan for HGH testing is "on hold because players don't agree with the league's stipulation" that Goodell "be the final arbiter in particular disputes around the testing process or the results." Winston said, "I kind of laugh because it keeps coming up. If he wants HGH testing as bad as he wants to retain his power, then we would have had HGH testing last year. At the end of the day, that's what this is all about: He wants to hold all the cards and he wants to be the judge, jury and executioner, and we're not going to go for an un-American system like that." NFL Senior VP/Communications Greg Aiello in an e-mail wrote, "It is kind of funny because since 2011 the union has come up with one excuse after another to avoid implementing an agreement to test for HGH. First, it was the testing method; then it was the population study; now it's commissioner authority. Our commitment to testing is clear. The same cannot be said of the union" (ESPN.com, 5/8). Meanwhile, ESPN N.Y.'s Jane McManus noted there were 10 "leaked results from prospect drug tests at the the NFL combine," and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith said that the union will "review the circumstances." Smith said, "Our concern is there is obviously a lack of appropriate attention by the National Football League on the way they safeguard information that is collected on people attending the combine" (ESPNNY.com, 5/8).