NEW ORLEANS – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to share the blame.
“Safety,” he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference, “is all of our responsibilities.”
Not surprisingly, given that thousands of former players are suing the league about its handling of concussions, the topics of player health and improved safety dominated Goodell’s 45-minute session Friday. And he often sounded like someone seeking to point out that players or others are at fault for some of the sport’s problems — and need to help fix them.
“I’ll stand up. I’ll be accountable. It’s part of my responsibility. I’ll do everything,” Goodell said. “But the players have to do it. The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it. Our medical professionals have to do it.”
Injuries from hits to the head or to the knees, Goodell noted, can result from improper tackling techniques used by players and taught by coaches. The NFL Players Association needs to allow testing for human growth hormone to go forward so it can finally start next season, which Goodell hopes will happen.
HALL OF FAME: For countless Cleveland Browns fans, time has not healed. Art Modell’s move remains an open wound.
And even in death, he torments them.
Modell, the late Cleveland owner credited with helping the NFL grow in prominence but whose decision to relocate his franchise to Baltimore 17 years ago obscures his accomplishments, is one of the 15 finalists up for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Modell’s case for induction — he was also a finalist in 2002 — could spark the liveliest debate in New Orleans on Saturday among 46 Hall of Fame committee members, who will select between four and seven new members.
Modell will be considered for enshrinement along with Coach Bill Parcells, former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., single-season sacks leader Michael Strahan, offensive linemen Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, running back Jerome Bettis, wide receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed, defensive standouts Charles Haley and Kevin Greene, guard Will Shields and defensive back Aeneas Williams.
TEXANS: Running back Arian Foster said he hasn’t spoken to his doctors about “any surgery” after a report that he was likely to undergo a heart procedure in about a month.
The NFL Network reported Thursday that Foster was considering an ablation procedure to address a heart issue he’s had since he was 12.