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Roger Goodell says league studying playoff expansion

NEW ORLEANS -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's annual state of the league address was largely focused on player health and safety, like so many NFL conversations this week.

But there were plenty of other key topics. Goodell expressed optimism about HGH testing, displeasure about minority hiring, and stood strong in his comments about the Saints' bounty controversy.

Some other things we learned:

1. NFL Network's Rich Eisen interviewed Goodell after the press conference and asked about expanding the playoffs.

"I didn't say we're going to do it. I said we're going to study it," Goodell said.

Goodell also mentioned reducing the preseason to two or three games. We haven't heard him mention three as a possibility before.

2. Goodell stressed repeatedly that the NFL needs to "take the head out of the game." He wants to continue escalating discipline when it comes to hits that cause injuries.

3. Goodell got some laughs when talking about his welcome in New Orleans:

"I couldn't feel more welcome. My picture is in every restaurant. I had a float in a Mardi Gras parade. I've got a Voodoo doll. ... I'm serious, people here have been incredible," Goodell said.

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He's been out on the town the last two nights with some of the people he worked with in the days after Hurricane Katrina and lauded the city repeatedly.

"I appreciate the passion" of the fans, Goodell said.

4. Goodell didn't seem to want to get involved in the topic of the Washington Redskins possibly changing their nickname.

5. On the New York Super Bowl: "Undoubtedly the game next year is going to have an impact on future decisions for open-air, cold-weather sites ... The community prepared for this ... The plans that have been developed for the Super Bowl, I think are extraordinary.

"The game of football is made to be played in the elements. Now, we hope they're not extreme, on one hand, but we'll be prepared for that if that's the case."

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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