After receiving an honorary doctorate with his brothers on behalf of their late father and addressing the nearly 2,400 graduates of UMass-Lowell's Class of 2010, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the two were asked a wide variety of questions.
There were, of course, several that were league-related and handled by Goodell:
On the status of talks for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the prospect of the 2011 season being impacted:
"There's really no specific update on the negotiations at this time. We do have meetings scheduled in the next few weeks and we do have work to do. But there's still a lot of football to be played, so we're going to be playing this season with absolutely no interruption and it's not unusual that we are where we are. I don't think any of us are surprised. We need to get to work, but there will be an agreement."
On whether "joint practices" during training camp will become more prevalent if/when the league goes to an 18-game regular season:
"It's a very good question. What we're trying to evaluate, not just as part of the enhanced season, is how do we get prepared for a season, including the offseason? How do we get our athletes ready to play? How do we evaluate younger players, and make sure that we put the best quality product on the field? That's the goal. And it's clear that the quality of the preseason is not up to snuff, in large part because the players aren't playing. The other part is they are meaningless games. Fans, in this kind of [economic] environment, want quality, and it's our job to figure out how to deliver that. So I think as we look at the enhanced season and how we want to change the offseason, very much the scrimmages will probably play a part of that. The large part of it though will be evaulating the talent and making sure we develop the talent -- those are two key issues, making sure we evaluate and develop the talent.
On when the new overtime rules for the postseason will also be applied in the regular season:
"We tabled the issue for this year [at the owners' meeting last week] because we want to do this incrementally. We have what I think is a very innovative idea and we'll see if we have any experience with it in this year's playoffs and then we'll have an opportunity to discuss it, through whatever normal competition committee process, including with our players and business partners and make the right kind of decision next year."
We'll have more shortly...