Notebook: Goodell calls meeting 'first step'

PITTSBURGH – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with the five Rooney brothers Tuesday in New York to help broker a financial agreement that would keep the Steelers in the family's hands. Here's Goodell's statement to the media:

"We had a very constructive 2½-hour meeting today. I think everyone now has an even better understanding of the issues, which focus on the league's gambling policy as it relates to ownership, our 30 percent equity rule for principal owners, and the Rooney family issues.

"There are also important league interests that are involved because the NFL owners are partners collectively in the NFL and our rules require that all ownership transfers be approved by three-quarters of the owners. So I thought it would make sense on that basis to have NFL owners involved in the meeting and I invited Tom Benson, Mike Brown, and Jerry Richardson to participate, which they did.

"Today was another step in the process. We will continue the dialogue and I am optimistic that we will bring it to a resolution in the near future."


Ben Roethlisberger was asked why the Steelers finished 1-4 last season and why he might think that it won't happen again.

"I think we got worn down," he said. "We didn't execute the way we know how. I don't think it will happen because we're a year better and we're another year into the system with Mike (Tomlin) and B.A. (coordinator Bruce Arians). I think we'll surprise a lot of people."

Roethlisberger, of course, was sacked 53 times in 17 games last season, but he believes his improved ability to check out of bad situations will help that number significantly.

"Oh yeah, just because you know what's going on, where guys are going to be," he said. "If I do check, guys know what's going on and everybody's on the same page and knows where we're going. And our line has done a great job of communicating with me, and I with them, about checks and changes and who's hot and who's not and who they're blocking."


The Steelers got down to the required 75-man limit Tuesday by cutting tight end Cody Boyd. The Steelers will consider bringing Boyd back in some capacity, since he underwent shoulder surgery earlier that day and isn't likely to be claimed off the waiver wire.


Tomlin said the Carolina game Thursday will go a long way in determining "three to five decisions that are 11th hour." He was specific that one decision looms at the No. 5 wide receiver position, and that Willie Reid and Eddie Drummond will square off in a battle for a kick-return spot. Tomlin was asked if Drummond could make the team as a return man only.

"There's a potential for that," Tomlin said. "His opportunities to impress are dwindling and Thursday night is a big night for him."

The 7 p.m. game at Heinz Field will mark Troy Polamalu's first preseason start. However, Tomlin said the Steelers' starters will play only a quarter. He ruled linebackers Larry Foote (knee) and Mike Humpal (stingers) out of the game and called safety Ryan Mundy (ankle) questionable. Tomlin also said that quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon will both play "a bunch."

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