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Goodell wants to see more progress in labor talks

  • By Associated Press
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to see more progress in labor talks between the league and players' union.

Speaking Friday at his annual Super Bowl-week news conference, Goodell said fans "expect solutions ... and we should deliver" on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Watch: Goodell news conference
Roger Goodell spoke Friday at his annual Super Bowl news conference, addressing the league's position on the CBA -- first and foremost -- and many other topics. Watch ...

Union leader paints bleak picture

The NFL Players Association said Thursday it is bracing for a lockout in 2011 after the current labor pact expires. Goodell said he and the league's owners want an agreement and it's "absolutely false" that owners would want to see a work stoppage.

"I don't think anybody wants to see a work stoppage," Goodell said. "There are no benefits to that. If it comes to anything like that, we would all have failed."

Goodell added that there is no contingency plan for the 2012 Super Bowl, on the chance that no football is played in 2011.

"We still have a lot of time and a lot of important opportunities here to structure something that makes sense for everybody," Goodell said.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday the union views the chance of a lockout as a "14" on a scale of 1-to-10, something Goodell said he hopes won't become a "self-fulfilling prophecy."

"I couldn't make that prediction, and I sure hope he's wrong," Goodell said.

"Right now we don't need a lot of focus on that. We need to take advantage of the opportunity we have right now to structure an agreement and sit down and negotiate. That's how this is going to get done, and we will have an agreement. It's just a matter of when, but talking about options like work stoppages is not going to get us there."

Goodell has also said he doesn't agree with the union's contention that owners are insisting on an 18 percent player pay cut.

"The players should be paid fairly and they should be paid well," he said. "And I assure you that they will."

On other issues, the commissioner said:

» The culture in the league is changing regarding concussions, and there's now more awareness that such injuries are serious. There's more work to do to deal with concussions, Goodell said, but the league has made progress to ensure that players who suffer such injuries receive immediate medical help.

"We want to make sure people understand that they are serious injuries, and make sure that we deal with them in a conservative and medical fashion," Goodell said.

» Attendance at Jacksonville Jaguars' home games remains a concern, and with crowds of around 40,000, "you can't continue to have an NFL franchise."

» Extending the season to 17 or 18 games will be part of the discussion when talks with the union resume.

"I consistently hear from players and fans that the quality of our preseason is not up to NFL standards and that we need to fix that," he said. "This is one way of doing that, and what I believe is an effective way."

» The prospect of a cold-weather Super Bowl at the new Giants Stadium in 2014 is "interesting." There would be real benefits if the owners chose to award that game to the new stadium, Goodell said.

» The NFL is still eyeing a return to Mexico. Arizona and San Francisco held the league's first regular-season game outside the United States in Mexico in 2005, and playing there remains on the radar because "it's good for the NFL."

» He likes the league's overtime rule as it is.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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