Goodell wants labor deal soon

Also addresses 18-game season, Vick, weather

February 05, 2011|By Sam Farmer, Tribune Newspapers

DALLAS — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday team owners are committed to working out a deal with players and are ready to engage in "intense negotiations" with the NFL Players Association to get one done.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires March 3, opening the door to a lockout that could threaten training camp and possibly games in the 2011 season.

Goodell, speaking at his annual pre-Super Bowl news conference, said he hopes something can be worked out "in the next few weeks."

"This is the window of opportunity to get this done right," he said. "Otherwise, uncertainty is going to seep into all of our operations. ... I say, let's get to work, let's get an agreement that works for everybody."

Goodell spoke on several other topics.

•On an 18-game regular season: "Repeatedly, the fans have said the quality of the preseason doesn't meet NFL standards. That is … the basis on which we started to look at the 18-and-two concept, by taking two of those low-quality, non-competitive games and turn those into quality, competitive games that the fans want to see."

•On reports that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was planning a Super Bowl party, and whether that was appropriate for a man with his past: "I spoke to Michael three times in the last two weeks about his schedule here — what he'd be doing. He has said that on numerous occasions people have been using his name about being involved in some type of party, but that he had no intention of participating in that."

•Goodell praised the Dallas-Fort Worth area for handling the difficult weather, saying the ice and snowstorms would not jeopardize the region's chances of hosting the game again. This is the first Super Bowl to be staged here. "Frankly, that's our stage," Goodell said of 100,000-seat Cowboys Stadium. "You're going to be seeing the Super Bowl from one of the greatest stadiums in the world. ... The fact it can handle weather by closing the roof is a benefit."

They're out: Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and defensive end Aaron Smith have been ruled out of the Super Bowl, according to multiple reports.

Pouncey, who arrived in Dallas on Monday on crutches, has a high ankle sprain and has not been able to practice all week. The talented rookie will almost certainly be replaced by the versatile Doug Legurksy for Sunday's clash with the Packers. Smith has been out since Oct. 24 with a torn triceps muscle that the team hoped might be healed in time for the Super Bowl.

Dangerous day: Falling ice and snow from the roof of Cowboys Stadium left at least six people injured on Friday, officials said.

Crews responded to a series of injury calls after the ice started falling to the ground in chunks Friday afternoon, according to the Arlington Fire Department, which said six people were taken to a hospital. The two most seriously injured were listed in stable condition, the department said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.