Goodell on Tebow "Something Special"

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has some opinions about the Hot Topics in the league including unsportsmanlike players Ndamukong Suh and James Harrison. Like many others, the Commish believes in the power of Tim Tebow. "There is something special about him...". Read more about Goodell's interview with CBS' James Brown earlier this week.

On meeting with Ndamukong Suh and his reaction to Suh's actions on Thanksgiving Day:

Roger Goodell: Ndamukong came in voluntarily. He wanted to understand the rules. He wanted to meet with our staff to understand what he was doing and what we were focused on and understand the process. It was a very productive meeting. His head coach came in, the club president came in and I believe that it was productive. I was a little disappointed obviously on Thanksgiving Day because I don't think that's what Ndamukong Suh is all about. I spoke to him three or four days later and I believe he wants to be a great player in this league.  I believe he wants to play within the rules and I am supportive of that.   

On Suh being a good guy but not being able to control himself on the field:

RG: You have to learn how to control that. It's a tough game. It's a fast game, but when you're on that field, you have to be responsible for what you're doing and play in control.

 On his reaction to the Cleveland Browns playing Colt McCoy after possibly sustaining a concussion:

RG: I think that anyone who saw that hit would immediately think that he needs to be examined from a neurological stand point.  Fortunately as we've gone through it and try to gather all the facts, the doctors and trainers that were on the Browns sidelines were attending to other players and did not actually see the hit. When they went out, they weren't aware of the severity of the hit. That's something that we have to reevaluate in our process and get right because a player should not be going in without a neurological exam when you see a hit like that.

On the forthcoming review process and making changes to avoid future incidents:

RG: It's just not forthcoming. We've all ready started it. We've had a team of people in Cleveland this week. We've had several conference calls this week, including myself for four hours yesterday, evaluating what can we do to make sure that our processes will protect from that happening again and anything else where a player is injured and should get proper care. We want to make sure that happens.  That's one of the keys. One of the things that we want to do is make sure someone, a medical professional, has his eyes on the field at all times and can see when an injury occurs to somebody so the proper medical care is being given.

On James Harrison suspension and if he will start to play by the rules:

RG: That's the bottom line. James Harrison is a great football player but our rules apply to all 2,000 players and all 32 teams. Players conform to those rules. The rules are established and enforced. I think that he has the ability to adapt to the game and he has shown that he is a tremendous athlete and other players have also. That's the history, this is not new in our game. We've always had changes in our rules. We've identified techniques that need to be removed from the game because we think that they are unsafe for player safety. That has been changed and players have adapted.

On him still being convinced that players can change their style of play even after players say they cannot:

RG: Individuals are going to have to adapt as they can. Certain people have certain abilities on the field. Some may not be able to adapt but the fact is that the rules apply to all 32 teams and every player. We're not going to adapt those rules to individuals.

On if he will meet with James Harrison again about his play:

RG: He was in last fall. He had his hearing earlier this week with Ted Cottrell. That was done independently and I believe they're issuing a decision this morning.

On having any difficult moments throughout the labor talks:

RG: Sure there's dark moments. There were times when you're frustrated because you weren't able to reach an agreement. Clearly, March 11th was probably the most frustration because we thought we were making progress after several weeks in mediation. We failed. Both parties failed. We went back and moved toward litigation. I think the critical moment was when we got back away from all the noise, all the litigation and we got the principles together for dinner in late May. Five players, five owners, DeMaurice Smith and myself and we had dinner with no discussion of the issues at hand. We learned where we were coming from and there was a level of trust, respect that started at that point in time, and then spent two more days talking about the issues. We hit a series of those meetings that brought us back to saying, "We are all in this for the good of the game." The owners respect the players. The players respect the owners and that was the foundation I think that allowed us to get back to an agreement. Eventually, we got it back to collective bargaining and we were able to reach an agreement and save the season. I think that's great for everybody, most importantly for our fans.  

On where they are in the HGH process and if he is optimistic that they will reach an agreement on HGH:                                           
RG: I do think that we'll get there. We agreed to it in the collective bargaining agreement. We want to make sure that we answer the players' questions. All of us want a valid test. We think it exists. We want to get the players comfortable with that. We are, after several years that test has existed and been used in other sports – most prominently with the Olympics. We think that it's time. We think that this is important for the players for their health and safety because HGH is illegal. It's illegal for a reason. Second of all, people are using products that are coming off the black market and who knows what they are injecting themselves with. We think that we've got to get this issue addressed and the best way to do that is with a good testing program.

On him being mindful that the players may be stalling to get HGH out of their system:

RG: I don't think that's the reason. In fact, one of the challenges with HGH testing is that it clears your system very quickly, in fact, potentially within 48 hours, 72 hours after the injection. I don't think that's the case. I think there are legitimate concerns with the testing. I think the drawing of blood is different than our current testing program and those are issues that the union has asked about. We think that there is an answer. We think WADA has a program that's been accepted by scientists on a worldwide basis. We think that it's time.

On seeing anything like Tebow mania:

RG: Obviously, our fans have reacted to it. He deserves it. I don't make predictions about who is a great quarterback and who is not a great quarterback. There is something special about him. The way he inspires that team, the way they all lift at the right time and they come together. They overcome. That's a great thing about the game of football and the great thing about individual performances like Tim Tebow.

Courtesy: NFL Media and CBS Sports. Interview conducted 12/19/11

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