NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith said he always pushes for player safety

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said Wednesday that he believes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is serious about making pro football safer, but he will still push to get more benefits for the players.

"I'm the head of the players union and my job is to never be satisfied in where we are with the issue of players' health," Smith said during an appearance on "CBS This Morning." "There will not be a day where I will say either the National Football League or the owners have done enough."

Smith said his goal is to make sure player safety is a priority with the NFL. He said he doesn't think enough is being done for players after they are injured.

"The question we ask ourselves is, 'Are there things we can do to keep our players safer?' And the answer is yes. 'Are there things that we could do tomorrow that we aren't doing today?' Yes," he said. "Our players are still fighting each and every day for worker's compensation. We need to move to a world where if our players get hurt, they get treated."

He did not elaborate on how players are receiving less treatment than he expects.

Smith said the NFLPA is open to looking at approving medical marijuana for use by players where it is legal.

"What we have done in the five years since I've had this job is constantly look at ways we can keep our players safe and treat them and help them in their health conditions," he said. "We have made decisions on concussions and sideline concussion experts. We're willing to take a look at medical marijuana if there is proof it could help some of our players."

Smith was asked if the NFL's $765 million dollar settlement in a lawsuit by retired players -- one in which U.S. District Judge Anita Brody has requested more information before she gives her approval -- was enough. He said he wasn't sure, but he understands why Judge Brody has delayed the process.

"I've been a litigator in my background and do understand the judge's questions whether or not the fund actually contains enough money to pay out for the injuries," he said."... I think the judge is asking hard questions to make sure that the amount is properly funded to compensate the victims."

As for the safety aspect of playing the Super Bowl in a cold weather city with an open-air stadium, Smith said he was not a fan of this year's arrangement.

"I like warm climates," he said. "But I know that our players on Super Bowl Sunday are going to be thinking about one thing: winning."

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