While it was Smith and Goodell that made the joint statement while attending the Rookie Symposium Wednesday morning outside a hotel in Sarasota, Fla., it would seem they were working off a general script.
Both Goodell and Smith spoke, but what seemed most telling was that they were on point with what the other said. Both of them said they couldn't take questions because of restrictions on the confidentiality of the meetings. They both cited how important the rookie symposium was, although the event was originally scheduled for last month.
Smith spoke first and made a somewhat anticipated statement, saying, "We obviously spoke to the rookie class here at the Business of Football Symposium. We are not going to take questions, but both of us wanted to come out and tell you that. We're continuing to work hard. Both of us felt that it was important to come down for this event. Obviously, what we are doing on the business of football on a macro scale is about getting a fair deal done and trying to get back to the game and business of football as quickly as possible. This event was important to ensure that our young men appreciated how important we think these few days are. I'm thrilled that Roger could come down with us and talk to the rookies in a very good, direct way."
Goodell followed immediately afterward and all but echoed the sentiments expressed by Smith, saying, "It was a great opportunity for us to be able to sit with the rookies. They obviously have lots of questions. We answered the questions as best we could. But you all know that we're under certain restrictions. We're taking a break because we felt it was important to be down here with the players. We both have great respect, obviously, for the players. This is an important few days. We're going to get back to work."
Scripted or not, it's the scraps they are feeding the media.
What wasn't scripted was Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reporting that Smith had a conference call with several of the top players, with Smith apparently scaling back the expectations for an imminent solution.
"Now I have a better understanding of what's really going on before other guys in my locker room ask me," one player on the call told Glazer. "I was watching the news for updates, and judging from what I heard today, the updates didn't seem to be close to what they were telling us during the call. Now we feel a little more informed."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.