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New player safety advisory panel co-chaired by Lott, Madden

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Pro Football Hall of Fame members Ronnie Lott and John Madden will co-chair an NFL panel aimed at improving player safety.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel on Tuesday. It will consist of former NFL players, coaches and general managers and make recommendations to Goodell on various safety issues.

Other committee members are former players Antonio Freeman, Patrick Kerney, Willie Lanier, Anthony Munoz, former coach Marty Schottenheimer and former general manager Ernie Accorsi.

The NFL said the panel is supposed to produce recommendations to improve player safety by reviewing rules, equipment standards and game video, among other things.

"When I retired from broadcasting, I still wanted to be part of football. If there was any way I could give back I wanted to do that," Madden said. "This is a way, looking at safety, the way the game is played. The way it's going to be played 10, 15 years from now.

"In the area of safety, football is a tough game. There are some violent hits. We're not going to lose that. Within that, how can we make it safer? That's what my goal is, and I think that's what the goal of the panel is. You're not going to take hitting out of football."

Lott said the panel wants to make informed decisions using the data it collects.

"We want to be able to provide a different point of view -- how do we collect data, collect information, become smarter?" Lott said. "If we do that I think we'll become a better league."

The duo said the panel plans to look at everything from protective equipment to the amount of offseason workouts, even the size of the field.

"We always talk about players getting bigger, stronger, faster but playing on the same size field," Madden said. "Maybe we widen the field. I think that's something that's maybe being brought up now. Look at stadiums, could we do that? Is it a possibility? If we could prove that if we did widen the field we could make the game safer."

Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, said Goodell wants input from former players and coaches. The announcement comes a day after New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what he said are misleading claims in the selling of new and reconditioned football helmets.

In his letter to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, Udall wrote he is "troubled by misleading marketing claims by Riddell, a leading helmet maker that supplies the official helmet to the National Football League."

Udall also wants the FTC to "look into potential false and deceptive practices related to the reconditioning of used helmets."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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