Roger Goodell talks drug policy

Updated: January 31, 2014, 7:54 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Although the league's collective bargaining agreement with its players forbids the use of marijuana, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he will continue to evaluate the drug's potential as a pain reliever balanced against possible addiction issues.

"We'll continue to follow the medicine," Goodell said Friday at his annual pre-Super Bowl news conference. "Our experts right now are not indicating that we should change our policy in any way. We are not actively considering that at this point in time. But if it goes down the road sometime, that's something that we would never take off the table."

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday the league and union have had preliminary discussions about medicinal marijuana, but a policy would have to be included in the CBA in order to be implemented by the league.

Goodell said Friday that he liked the current policy and quipped, "I am randomly tested, and I'm happy to say that I am clean."

Medicinal marijuana was just one of the talking points during Goodell's state-of-the-league address. He addressed multiple issues with global media, from the possibility of a centralized replay office in New York (potentially soon, pending a recommendation from the competition committee), to whether the Miami Dolphins' locker room turmoil this season may lead to a leaguewide code of conduct policy.

The answer to the last one was "yes."

"We all have to get back to respect," Goodell said.

The commissioner also said he would like to see the $765 million settlement of the recent player lawsuit over concussion claims remain in place. A federal judge earlier this month denied preliminary approval, fearing it may not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players.

Goodell said the league has the health and safety of the players in mind, and it was important that the money is in place for the plaintiffs.

[+] EnlargeRoger Goodell
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsCommissioner Roger Goodell says that the NFL will "continue to follow the medicine" when it comes to allowing marijuana use as a potential pain reliever.

He was lukewarm about the prospects of future Super Bowls at open-air stadiums in other cold-weather cities.

Goodell praised the efforts of those in the New York/New Jersey area ahead of this year's game, but despite the interest it will generate in other cold-weather climates where teams play in open-air stadiums, Goodell stopped short of saying Super Bowl XLVIII is the first of more to come.

"Things are going well here in New York because of the people's commitment, they're doing it together," Goodell said. "It takes that no matter what city you're in. ... These events are very complex, they take a tremendous amount of planning."

He also dashed the possibility that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke would bring an NFL franchise back to Los Angeles with his recent purchase of land in Inglewood, Calif.

"There are no plans to my knowledge of stadium development," Goodell said.

Other topics that Goodell touched on included:

• Redskins name controversy. Goodell said the Redskins name has been "presented in a way that honors Native Americans."

• Playoff expansion. He said the possibility of adding two teams to the playoffs will "continue to get serious consideration."

• Playoff ticket sales. He said the league made a mistake in how it handled ticket sales for the playoffs that led to teams struggling to sell out games. He said the league should not have been in a position of having difficulties selling out playoff games.

• Replay. Goodell said it's possible some part of the replay process will take place at league headquarters, not just the stadiums. The competition committee is expected to examine the issue this offseason. Goodell said one scenario is for game officials to still make the final decision, but someone in New York also will weigh in to ensure the correct call is made. Goodell said that the "input could be helpful" to "make sure they're seeing any angle."

Information from ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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