NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was at Ravens camp today, where he watched practice and talked with Ravens players, coaches and front office personnel.
Goodell chatted with head coach John Harbaugh for a few minutes during practice, then sat with the players over lunch in a closed door meeting.
The commissioner also met with the media during practice and touched on a handful of topics, which I'll list in quick-hit fashion:
- Goodell grew up in the Washington D.C. area and said he was a big Colts fan as a kid. He said he's aware of the passion that Baltimore fans had for their Colts and currently have for their Ravens.
- The commissioner said he was here to listen to the Ravens' players as much as he was to speak to them. He was interested in hearing their take on the current labor situation and said that their comments are helpful to him.
- Goodell didn't say much about the labor situation, except that "we have to get to work" on it. He said that negotiations between the owners and the players association have been scheduled and talks are continuing.
- When asked how confident he is that a deal will get completed, Goodell responded: "It doesn't pay much for me to characterize issues [that way]."
- Asked about the possibility of an 18-game regular season, Goodell said that it's something that is being talked about. He acknowledged that the health of players is the key issue when talking about an expanded regular season, but said that the league is taking everything into account, including adjusting the offseason schedule, training camp, and mid-season practice to help the players stay fresh and healthy.
- The commissioner's most decisive stance comments came when the topic of the rookie pay scale was broached. "I think the system is broken and we have to fix it," Goodell said.
- Goodell said he satisfied with the current replay system and is OK with leaving things as they are. He said he doesn't feel a need to add more replay cameras
- As for the Brett Favre saga, Goodell said that the quarterback is great for the game, and while he would like to see Favre play this season, he has to do what's best for him. Goodell added that the league hasn't heard anything from Favre at this point, and all the will-he-or-won't-he-retire talk the last couple days is all based on media reports.