Roger Goodell: NFL looking at protecting defensive players


DENVER -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a town hall meeting with Denver Broncos season-ticket holders before Saturday's AFC Divisional Playoff. Goodell did not dictate the tenor of the question and answer session but the fans clearly have heard his message of player safety, since the majority of questions dealt with the topic.

Among the items discussed then, and with a gathering of reporters afterwards:

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» The league will seriously look at the abolishment of low blocks on defensive players to avoid season-ending injuries like that to Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. "That's high on our list," Goodell said.

» The "launching" element of player contact could be completely ruled out after this season. It's such a grey area now that complete elimination, by rule, might be the only way for clarity.

» Though there are no clear answers to preventing head injuries in any sport, but specifically football, Goodell said, legislating the use of the head is the most preventative means. Altering of equipment has shown benefits, but also negative ramifications. Still, the NFL continues to research ways to improve equipment and helmets to better prevent injuries, Goodell said.

» Goodell fired another tempered volley at the NFLPA for not agreeing to HGH testing. Goodell said the players association is concerned about the science. Using Major League Baseball's recent decision to move forward with in-season HGH testing, Goodell said questions about the science of HGH testing are "just not true."

» As for a team being in Los Angeles, Goodell said the league is specifically focused on stadium issues there and developments have made putting a team there more realistic than it's been in years. "Whether that happens in five years, I don't know," Goodell said. "The last thing we want to do is come back to Los Angeles and have it fail."



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