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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sees rules for player safety working
Goodell participated in a series of meetings on player health and safety at the leagues headquarters Wednesday. He said the feedback he has received from coaches, players, officials and administrators has been positive.
The overwhelming reaction is that players are adjusting to the new rules, the new techniques, Goodell said. I do believe that this is a very positive shift in the culture. Youre always going to have things that dont necessarily fit into that culture in a period of time, but people are recognizing when these hits dont fit into the context of the game.
Asked about appeals officer Matt Birk overturning the one-game suspension for Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, Goodell said he had not read the decision. But he stressed that the $100,000 fine delivers a message to Goldson and others that such hits must be eliminated from football.
Its not that there wasnt a violation of the rule, and its not that there were not consequences for violating the rule, he said. So that, in and of itself, is a shift, and a positive shift that the culture is changing. But the culture doesnt change overnight, and we will probably always have violations of rules.
The Buccaneers could wind up being punished financially for excessive fines accumulated by their players this season. In fact, any team is subject to such penalties.
Fine amounts under the leagues club remittance policy for player safety count toward a team maximum of $105,000. If a teams players go over that, the club is fined $50,000. If the total of fines gets to $157,500, the club must hand over another $25,000 and match any subsequent fines or suspension amounts. The most an individuals fine can count toward the club total is $50,000, and Goldson already has two infractions worth $80,000 in fines.
Tampa Bay is at $87,825 in 2013 just two games into the season.
Goodell also said the league has compromised as much as it can with the players union on HGH testing. The NFL and NFLPA agreed in principle to conducting such tests in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, but the union has balked about procedural matters in the testing, and about the appeals process, for which the union wants neutral arbitration. Both sides have gotten much closer to finding a solution, but no testing is happening yet.
What does neutral arbitration add but more credibility? NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. The majority of the policy that they already agreed to allows the commissioner to impose discipline, but an appeal is subject to neutral arbitration if the player so chooses. The players dont want an exception to the rule.
Report: Geno Smith fires agents over draft fall
Smith was selected by NFL Betting Lines the New York Jets in the second round of the draft after many draft experts had him projected as the top quarterback to be taken in the draft. Instead, Florida State's E.J. Manuel was the only QB taken in round by, by the Buffalo Bills.
Select Sports, which consists of Jeff Nalley, Vann McElroy and Graylan Crain, is now paying the price for that fall. An agent's job in the draft process, of course, is to market, prepare and ready a player in a way to get him selected as high as possible.
But if Select Sports oversold Smith's value to Smith on what teams really thought about him, they were far from alone, as most of the draftniks and talking heads also figured the West Virginia QB as a first-round pick.
Here's some advice to Smith as he starts his NFL career. He doesn't want to begin that career playing the blame game, which on the surface is what this move appears to be.
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