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Roger Goodell very open to changing discipline role

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was open to adjusting his role in the NFL's disciplinary system following the lengthy appeals process concerning Tom Brady and the Patriots.

"We want to get to a better discipline system. We're open to that. We've had several discussions with the unit on how to do that," Goodell told ESPN Radio on Tuesday morning.

Goodell was asked if he would be specifically open to decreasing his role.

"Yes, I am very open to changing my role in that," Goodell said. "It's become extremely time-consuming and I have to be focused on other issues and that's what I've discussed with many of the owners over the last couple of years. We believe that a discipline officer or some type of panel that could make at least the initial decision and then designate on some type of appeal would be a better system."

Goodell, making his first public comments since Judge Richard Berman's ruling last week which nullified a four-game suspension for Brady, touched on a variety of issues stemming from the case, including his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and any connection between the deflated football incident and Spygate.

Goodell insisted his relationship with Kraft is the same as ever and that he was not aware of any connection between Spygate and the deflated ball incident. Goodell said that he had not yet seen an ESPN Outside the Lines report that revealed new aspects of the Patriots' illegal videotaping scandal. Goodell's most significant talking point seemed to be a push for a better disciplinary system.

The lack of uniformity among punishments was a key arguing point for Brady's legal team and the NFL Players Association.

"I believe that we can do that here where we can come with changes whether they are a designated discipline officer, whether there are panels," he said. "Those things can help us get to a better place and ultimately better decisions. Courts are not where we should be having these discussions at the table and getting the right system at the right place to do that."

Brady, who also did a lengthy radio interview Tuesday, seemed to agree in that hopefully change could come of the deflated football incident.

Of course, Goodell and the NFL are not finished in court. An appeal process is underway and though it could take a long period of time, Goodell addressed his reasoning for continuing litigation.

"I certainly understand the fatigue," he said. "To a large extent, we have fatigue. We went through a very extensive process as you know. We talked about it at the draft of variant length. The independent investigation by Ted Wells, the report which was released to everyone publicly, and then another process that's a standard part of our collective bargaining agreement that includes the hearing and a record from that hearing and a decision that I made at that point in time.

"And now we have Judge Berman's process that was designed to focus on whether we were consistent with the collective bargaining agreement. We believe we were consistent with the collective bargaining agreement. That's simply a legal matter. I am not going to be focused on that. Our legal team will simply go through the appellate stage with that. I want to get back to football, focusing on football and that's what I'll be doing over the next several months."

Goodell confirmed that he will not be attending the season opener in New England on Thursday.

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