CANTON, Ohio -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a busy man, especially here at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where everyone wants a moment with the game's high king. Goodell will be on hand Sunday night to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the Arizona Cardinals in our first look at on-field action since Super Bowl XLVI.
When Around the League spoke with Goodell on Saturday night, he sounded primed for the campaign to get underway:
It's been an interesting offseason for you. How do you feel about being here at the Hall of Fame, focusing on something closer to football?
Goodell: It's great, because, you know, this weekend is a chance to celebrate the great players that helped make the game and also (celebrate) the game itself. ... It's back to football time. We have our first game tomorrow night and that's a great thing.
Speaking of that, with everything that's surrounded the Saints, is there some relief for you in having this team play Sunday? Doing something on the field for a change?
Goodell: Sure, I think it's always good. I think they want to move on and get back to focusing on football and moving forward. I understand that, we all do. We all want to get back to playing football.
Goodell: Listen, the facts are clear. There was a bounty system in place. They've admitted it, even in court, that they were paying players when they were carted off the field. That's not what football's all about. We don't reward players for hurting people or taking them off the field, and that's a bounty. And there are accusations even beyond that. So, it's clear this was in place, and we're not going to tolerate it. That's not good for the health of the players or the game itself.
The St. Louis Rams haven't named a defensive coordinator and some speculate they're waiting for Gregg Williams to be reinstated, perhaps next season. Is he going to get another chance?
Goodell: Well, we suspended coach Williams indefinitely, and we'll make those decisions sometime over the next six or seven months.