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Report: Roger Goodell “Terrified” Player Will Die on Field; “Would Be Awfully Bad for Business”

March 6th, 2013 at 11:45 AM
By Dan Benton

On Tuesday, Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN's Outside the Lines published an incredibly revealing editorial on Roger Goodell and the ins and outs of his reign as NFL Commissioner. And although Natta Jr. never met with Goodell one-on-one for this piece, he did sit down with a number insiders who have direct knowledge of not only Goodell's operations, but his personal thoughts.

'CPSC, NFL Tout Safer Play' photo (c) 2012, US CPSC - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Amidst this lengthy expose were some very concerning comments about Goodell's line of thinking; namely about a potential death on the football field and not what it would mean for the player and his family, but the negative impact it would have on the game itself.

"One of his greatest fears: An NFL player is going to die on the field," says a Hall of Fame player who speaks regularly with Goodell. "Within the past year, Goodell has told friends privately that he believes if the game's hard-knocks culture doesn't change, it could happen again (Lions receiver Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack in a 1971 game). 'He's terrified of it. It wouldn't just be a tragedy. It would be awfully bad for business.' "

Despite his concern for how awful it would be for business, New York Giants co-owner John Mara insists Goodell's No. 1 priority is player safety.

"Player safety is Roger's No. 1 priority," New York Giants owner John Mara says. "It's something, quite frankly, that he wants as part of his legacy as a commissioner."

Of course, Goodell also wants the league's annual revenue to exceed $25 billion by 2027, and one way he's set out about doing that is attempting to increase the number of regular season to 16. Hardly something that would be considered "safe" for the players.

Almost immediately following the the release of this report, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello shot down the notion that Goodell's concern would come from a business standpoint.

“I don’t know anyone who’s ever heard him say that,” Aiello told the New York Daily News. “I’ve worked closely with him for 24 years and have never heard him say such a thing. Beware of anonymous sources.”

Thus far there has been no denial from Goodell, although it's almost certainly on the horizon.

Also…

Tags: Football, John Mara, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Roger Goodell

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15 Responses to “Report: Roger Goodell “Terrified” Player Will Die on Field; “Would Be Awfully Bad for Business””

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    Well, it certainly WOULD be “bad for business”, but I doubt Goodell would really think that the first concern would be for the league, and not the player and his family and friends. I don’t like the guy, but he isn’t a monster.

    I remain “all in” on the efforts to make the sport safer. Do I miss the old rock ‘em, sock ‘em NFL? Absolutely. But knowing what we now know, it is immoral to hope we get back to that again. And for anyone who has never been down close to the action, trust me, the amount of violence on the field is still fearsome. It takes courage to play in the NFL. I imagine that almost every rookie is absolutely shocked by what they find out in the first few games they play. You’re either very tough and half-crazy or you simply will not make it in the league.

  2.  Krow says:

    I heard Goodell was terrified that robots were stealing his luggage. What the hell, if you’re going to make something up it may as well be a good one.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I heard it was that zombies were stealing Jets fans’ bladders, which would allow them to drink their way through an entire season of misery without ever feeling full.

    •  jfunk says:

      That’s preposterous.

      Everybody knows that robots steal old people’s medication, not luggage.

  3.  William Holland says:

    What does everyone think of David Amerson in the second? (Samardja)

    1st. Sheldon Richardson or best DT to fall be it Star or Floyd
    2nd. David Amerson – Big physical ball hawking corner
    3rd. Ryan Swope – Very similar skill set, size and combine #’s to Cruz (Ps. I’d hate to lose Cruz but Swope is a great insurance plan)
    4th. Terron Armstrong to solidify rt for the next 4 years – Poor combine numbers could drop him this far
    5th. Jon Bostic or Kiko Alonzo

    •  F0XLIN says:

      Dave Amerson was burnt toast all season, I think he got beat for 20 TD’s

      •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

        I like Sheldon Richardson A LOT, but I still hold out that he won’t be on the board when we get there.

        Not a fan of Amerson; if we were to target a CB in the 2nd round (assuming the top 3 of Milliner, Trufant and Rhodes are gone) I would look at Logan Ryan from Rutgers or Jordan Poyer from Oregon State.

        Swope will absolutely not be available with our pick in the 3rd round.

        Same thing with Armstrong in the 4th; someone will fall in love with his upside and his athleticism and snatch him up by the 3rd round at the absolute latest…some “draft experts” have even said he could sneak into the 1st round.

        Like Bostic’s upside and speed A LOT. Not big on Alonzo.

      •  William Holland says:

        He was a stud two seasons ago and played well at parts last season, I like his upside and would bet he makes a good recovery in the Pros. He can’t be any worse than Webster was last year and will cost a fraction. I think he has way more upside than Logan Ryan or Blidi Wreh-Wilson.

        •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

          Just because Amerson “can’t be worse than Webster” doesn’t mean that he warrants a 2nd round draft pick. I look at Amerson as a 4th round type of guy. Wreh-Wilson I like as a prospect, and is probably more of 3rd round guy…but will be a bit more of a project as he hasn’t seen the kind of competition some of the guys at bigger schools saw. Logan Ryan fits the mold for what we look for in our CB’s and comes from a pro-ready style system that faced some pretty tough competition at Rutgers.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I cannot see Richardson, Floyd or Star falling to #19, although there’s an outside chance the last of those could.

      No thanks to Amerson.

      Swope will never get past the very top of Round 3.

      I know nothing about Armstrong.

      I really like Bostic but don’t think he falls to the fifth round in even our wildest dreams.

  4.  BigBlueGiant says:

    Eagles set to release Nahmdi.

    Anyone here besides me think Reese might make him a one year offer?

    •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

      With CWeb on the books to make what he’s making…I definitely DON’T think Reese will make Asomugha an offer. We’re already paying way more than we should for Webster to get burned…we have no use for Asomugha.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      If he’d play for $3MM grab him for a year, draft a corner (or two) and dump Webster. The rookies are ready for 2014 and Nnamdi moves on. But I have a feeling he’s going to look for at least $5MM and before they’d do that they’ll negotiate Webster down to $4.5MM and keep him.

  5.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    Saw the DraftTek mock, and while I do like several of the picks, there are MANY picks throughout the draft that are just completely unrealistic. Also, like Dan pointed out, mock drafts mean nothing until free agency pans out a little bit.

  6.  Samardzija says:

    Not a fan of Amerson, like Poyer a lot as well as his teammate from Oregon St Wheaton allthough different position. Couple of interesting small school corners as well in BW Webb and Robert Alford be available in the 2-3 round. As well as a guy I really like in Wreh-Wilson from UConn.

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