Roger Goodell comes to camp

The commish covers wide range of topics at Bills camp, including Marshawn Lynch's legal troubles and the team's uncertain future...

Commissioner Roger Goodell paid a visit to Bills training camp on Monday to meet with owner Ralph Wilson Jr. and US senator Charles Schumer about the long-term viability of the franchise in Buffalo. While at camp, Goodell spoke with the team, and the media about topics ranging from the financial status of the Bills to the NFL personal conduct policy.

The future of the Bills in Buffalo has been a hot-button issue for Bills fans ever since plans were announced to hold a series of games in Toronto. The team, local politicians and now Commissioner Goodell are trying to quell these fears by stressing regionalization, not relocation as the motive behind the series. Here's what the commissioner had to say regarding the regionalization of the team:

"We're talking about the future of the Bills and what we can continue to do to make sure that the Bills continue to be successful here in Western New York. And we did discuss that. We've talked about the initial steps here as far as regionalizing to Southern Ontario and the Toronto series. And that has been a very positive step for the Bills in Western New York."

There have been talks as to who might purchase the team after Ralph Wilson passes, and Bills fans are hoping it's somebody who will keep the team in Buffalo. Former Bill Jack Kemp and former Governor of New York State Mario Cuomo have expressed interest in purchasing the team. Goodell had the following to say about the matter:

"I'm aware they have a special fund that's created for investments in to NFL and other sports teams. We have a very strong policy that we want a principal owner that speaks for the team, speaks to the community but also is a representative on the league level. They're aware of those policies if they want to own an NFL team, that those opportunities exist, but it's very important for us to have a principal owner like Mr. Wilson that will not only represent the team and the community, but also participate in league level matters."

"I've talked to them about their concept many times. We have others that have had very similar concepts and that were interested in ownership throughout the league."

Goodell went on to discuss the series of games to be played in Toronto, and also the status of the ticket sales:

"I think it's been very successful in making the Bills stronger in Western New York , which is our effort here to make sure the Bills stay here successfully in western New York by expanding the region in which they draw fans. It's bringing more people down from Toronto . They're spending more money in Western New York . It's good for Western New York ; it's good for the Bills ; and so far it's been a great success."

"The game hasn't been played yet so I think at this stage right now this is the way that they're marketing the games -- the whole series and the individual games -- and I'm confident that the game's going to be well received there."

Another matter discussed was the situation involving running back Marshawn Lynch's hit-and-run charges earlier this summer. Lynch was initially going to be charged with a misdemeanor after he hit a pedestrian in his SUV early on the morning of May 31. He eventually plead guilty to a traffic violation, and was fined $100 along with forfeiting his driver's license. It was unclear whether the league would impose penalties on Lynch for the infraction. Here are Goodell's remarks about the case and his advice to Lynch:

"I spoke to Marshawn this morning. I met with Marshawn and he understands his responsibilities as an NFL player. I think the facts are clear on the case at this point in time and I don't plan on any discipline."

"Because it was reduced to a traffic violation and I think when you look at the facts and understand exactly what happened after some of the initial reports, I think that it's not a violation of our personal conduct policy. On the other hand, Marshawn understands that these things are important to the league and that he will avoid those types of situations in the future."

"He understands the responsibility. He understands what it means to be an NFL player and how he has to represent himself, his teammates, and the Buffalo Bills, and he knows how important that is."

"I think you have to balance that with what his legal rights are and what was being done. He was cooperative. The district attorney has indicated that, so I think you have to balance your legal rights and what you have to do to protect yourself individually. And I want our players to make sure that they do that properly, and they have good counsel and that's important to have."

The NFL has had its fair share of disciplinary problems this past year, and players are constantly reminded about the importance of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Goodell shared some thoughts on its importance with today's NFL world:

"I think the players are getting enough of a reminder on this issue. I speak about it frequently. We send documentation to the players. I think they understand the responsibility. And I think that of our players in general, I'm very proud of what they do. We have great representatives in our community. In reality, you have a few players that do things that are inconsistent with those policies. Unfortunately, they get a lot of attention but that's the reality of our world."

For more news from Bills training camp, be sure to check BFR for daily news and updates.

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