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Colts president Polian explains stance on 18-game schedule

Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian said Wednesday that he was "very imprecise" when he described an 18-game NFL regular season as a done deal.

Two days after saying a longer schedule is a "fait accompli" on his local radio show, Polian returned to the airways Wednesday and told ESPN's "Mike and Mike In The Morning" program what he meant was that the Colts are preparing as if the 18-game season will happen.

Polian clarified that any change to the current schedule would need to be discussed with the players' union and is subject to approval by league owners.

"Unfortunately I was imprecise, because as general manager, and I have to put my general manager's hat on. I have to think as though these things are fait accompli, and my answer was in that context," Polian said. "Unfortunately, because I wasn't precise, the answer was obscured, and I created a headline that was 180 degrees from what I intended to do."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking on Sirius NFL Radio, told hosts John Madden, Adam Schein and Rich Gannon that he spoke with Polian about his comments.

"I spoke to Bill. He called me yesterday to clarify his comments," Goodell said. "And I'll let Bill speak for himself because he's good at it, because Bill's been working with us on what we need to do if we do go to an enhanced season, what we would need to do to make sure we continue to keep the game strong. There's a right way and a wrong way of doing this, and I think we're doing this the right way."

NFL Players Association representatives and league officials met Tuesday in Washington to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement. The expanded season was one of the topics.

"We've had a tremendous amount of input from all of our club people -- that includes the football people, our competition committee, on the ownership level and, of course, with our partners, and that includes our players -- trying to figure out how to do this in a sensible fashion that will keep the game strong," Goodell said. "I don't think it's a done deal at all until we have found the right way to keep the game strong and to allow us to continue to grow the game."

Polian explained that the competition committee, which he serves on, is still discussing the idea.

"I think there's a way to do this right," Polian said. "The competition committee is working on it. I'm one of the handful of people in the league that had experience with the 18-game model, both in the CFL and the USFL. I think there are ways that we can find to do it right, and part of that is looking at the 12-month football calendar, not just the regular season or the preseason.

"I think we can solve what problems present themselves. We can learn from the CFL and USFL experience, and hopefully at the end of the day, everybody agrees upon something that's good for the game. I think that's going to happen."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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