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Carolina Panthers

Roger Goodell Q&A


Comments from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with the media following his fan forum at Carolina Panthers training camp.

On the fan forum: We've done a number of these. This is the first one we've done since we have a new collective bargaining agreement and the first one of training camp this year. It was great to hear from the fans. You get a lot of feedback from the fans, and it's important to hear that.

On the fans' questions: They asked some pretty tough questions.

On how many training camp stops he will make: This is the first. I will traditionally go to about a half dozen training camps. I'm also going to try to see if I can get to know my family again at some point.

On the role Carolina Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson had in the new collective bargaining agreement: Mr. Richardson's leadership was extraordinary. I think the reason we have an agreement within the timeframe and the length of the agreement was because of that leadership, because of his determination to get a fair agreement, to reach compromise on issues, to make sure that everyone within the NFL understood exactly the position we were in, to make sure that everyone was informed and to sit with the players directly and to have the respect to listen to one another. That was a critical moment, and the chairman deserves a lot of credit for that.

On if the players will come around in his quest to make the game safer: The players are the ones that wanted it. That was their issue - to make sure that the game is safer. It's a balancing act. You want to make the game safer, you want to make sure that you're making the rules as safe as possible and to eliminate those techniques that you know are dangerous. But you are not going to make everybody happy. If we can continue to make the game safer and improve the quality of the game, then I think we're doing the right things.

On if there is one question the fans asked that resonated with him: I think the question on the Wounded Warriors and is there a way for them to participate in the game a little more deeply. I was talking to him just a moment ago, and we're going to look into that.

On what the NFL can do to be a leader in dealing with heat-related safety issues and is it too hot to practice in temperatures of 100 degrees: That's one of the reasons they're playing at six o'clock at night, because I think you have to be sensitive to these issues. I think we are leaders in this area. We have implemented significant changes into our game to make sure that our medical personnel, our coaches, our players all understand the importance of proper hydration and proper training in these kinds of conditions. They are unique challenges and they differ from climate to climate. But whether you're playing football or any other sport or whether you're just in this kind of a climate, there are dangers and risks and you have to aware of them. And I think our people are.

On if free agents who have signed contracts will be able to practice on Thursday night: That's certainly our intention. If we reach an agreement and we can sign the collective bargaining agreement by tomorrow morning, we certainly expect the new league (year) to start, and the players will be out here tomorrow.

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