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Sunday, January 15, 2012
Roger Goodell's fan forum in Baltimore

By Jamison Hensley

BALTIMORE -- A sampling of Roger Goodell's forum with selected fans in Baltimore and his question-and-answer session with reporters afterward, which touched on such hot topics as officiating, expanding the game internationally, HGH testing and even Ray Lewis:

On improving officiating in the NFL: "We are contemplating this offseason taking some of those officials from the field who are now part-time -- they have other jobs -- and making a certain number of them, let's say 10 of them, full-time. They would come into our office and they would help grade the film. We grade every single play. If we do this, I call 'semi-part-time concept,' I think it could add a little more consistency because we could move those officials into different crews. We would have one for each position."

On the changes to diagnosing head injuries since the Colt McCoy incident: "I don’t think we ever do enough. We’re making changes. We just made another change to our concussion procedure just last week. We’re allowing the medical team to actually see video on the sideline. So the Colt McCoy issue, the thing that troubled me the most is all of our medical personnel was dealing with other players and no one  saw the hit on the field. So, what we’ve changed is our procedure immediately was to create an ATC spotter [an athletic trainer] who is up in the booth watching the action all the time. If he sees something, he calls down on the field and says that individual needs to be checked to make sure they don’t have a head injury. We have not finished yet. We’re going to continue to make changes."

On Art Modell getting into the Hall of Fame: "I have tremendous respect for Art Modell. I’ve been in the league close to 30 years. He’s done so much for the league, not just for the fans in Cleveland and the fans here in Baltimore. He was head of the broadcasting committee for years that I think helped develop policies that I think helped develop policies that have made the game so successful. I think Art is such a great contributor. It’s a decision that’s made by the media in each of the markets.  It’s hard to imagine that the contributions he’s made won’t be recognized some day. You just hope it would be sooner rather than later."

On the Josh McDaniels issue of allowing coaches to change teams in the postseason: "The rules committee is going to look at it. We’ve talked to several club executives and I’m not getting a lot of reaction from the other clubs that this is unfair. They don’t seem to think it’s a big issue. But it’s something that we’ll talk about it. I can guarantee you that if it’s a big issue that they would be the first complaining about the fact that it’s not fair competitively."

On plans to expand game internationally: "Yes, we want to expand our game internationally. You may be aware of the fact that we’re playing a series of games in London. And we want to expand that not just to one game every regular season but two games and maybe even three games. We do believe that fan support is growing at such a rapid pace that, if it continues to do that, we could have a franchise in London one day."

On thoughts of expanding to Asia: "It’s a little more difficult because of the travel is more challenging. We’ve only played preseason games there because of that. We continue to show our games on free television there and make our game available. The interest in our game is growing at a global basis and we’re responding to that. And we are certainly going to be heading that far to Asia. We may even play a regular-season game there someday."

On playing Super Bowl outdoors in northern city: "I love the games in the elements. Some of our most historic games have been in the elements. That’s been part of our tradition, part of our history. So we felt it was worth, let’s see how it works. What happens after that, we’ll make some decisions. People ask: What are you hoping for? I’m hoping it represents the elements. If it snows a little bit, that’s OK for me. That’s football. I’m looking forward to it, I will be sitting outside."

On HGH testing: "We understand the issues they’ve raised. We’ve answered those questions. All of the scientists agree that this test is valid. We think we have a valid test. It’s been proven on a global basis and we hope to get it implemented as quickly as possible."

On whether he's confident testing will be in place by next season: "We’re going to work as hard as we can to get it done. I think it’s important not just for the game but for the players. I think the players want it at the end of the day. This is a real issue and a safety issue if they’re putting things in their bodies that they really don’t know what it is."

On his thoughts on Ray Lewis, who could be playing his final home game in Baltimore: "He’s just an awesome player. The intensity that he plays the game with. He never stops whistle to whistle. I think he’s inspiring, not just for his teammates but he has a tremendous influence on other players around the league. He has a great relationship with them. I speak to him frequently about issues, because he understands the game. He understands what other players are thinking and feeling about the game. If he does step away from the game, I’ll wish him well, but his leadership will be missed.”