Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Goodell: Safety everyone's role

NEW ORLEANS — Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to share the blame.

"Safety," he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference Friday, "is all of our responsibilities."

With thousands of ex-players suing the league over its handling of concussions, the topics of player health and safety filled most of the 45-minute session.

"I'll stand up. I'll be accountable. It's part of my responsibility. I'll do everything," Goodell said. "But the players have to do it. The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it. Our medical professionals have to do it."

Injuries from hits, Goodell said, can result from improper tackling used by players and taught by coaches. The players union, he added, must allow testing for human growth hormone.

Goodell also mentioned upcoming changes, including adding independent neurologists to sidelines to help with concussion care during games — something players have asked for and the league opposed until now.

"The No. 1 issue is take the head out of the game," Goodell said. "I think we've seen … players are using their head more than they had when you go back several decades."

He said one tool the league can use to cut down on helmet-to-helmet hits is suspensions.

"We're going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders," Goodell said. "We're going to have to take them off the field. Suspensions get through to them."

On other matters:

• Asked what he most rues about the Saints bounty investigation: "My biggest regret is that we aren't all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get (bounties) out of the game to make the game safer. Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility. That's what I regret, that I wasn't able to make that point clearly enough with the union."

• On a "new generation of the Rooney Rule" with none of the 15 new coaches or general managers being a minority: "We didn't have the outcomes we wanted."

• There is no timetable for a game in Mexico. The 49ers and Cardinals met there in 2005.

• On how he has been treated in New Orleans after the bounty controversy: "My picture … is in every restaurant. I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade. We got a voodoo doll," he said, joking. He added he can, "appreciate the passion" of the fans and "couldn't feel more welcome."

Deer-antler: The man who Sports Illustrated reported supplied Ray Lewis with deer-antler spray can't confirm the Ravens linebacker used it.

Mitch Ross' company, Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, says its spray and pills contain a naturally occurring banned product connected to human growth hormone. SI reported Lewis called Ross shortly after tearing his triceps Oct. 14.

Lewis denies the report. And asked if Lewis ever tried deer-antler spray, Ross said, "I never saw him put it in his mouth."

49ers Practice: San Francisco wrapped up its final practice 15 minutes early. In all, it practiced 40 minutes fewer than it usually did during the regular season (though it still will conduct its usual Saturday walk-through).

"We got everything done,'' coach Jim Harbaugh said of the week of practices. "There was good attention to detail and a crisp tempo.''

Linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks were again limited by shoulder injuries but are listed as probable.

Ravens practice: Baltimore coach John Harbaugh could barely contain his enthusiasm after his final workout, a 65-minute affair leading into today's walk-through.

"It was an A-plus. A-plus-plus," he said of the week of practices. "We're at the stage where we're clicking on all cylinders and practicing very, very well."

The team did not report any injuries.

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