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Ask Shalise: Will the Patriots go after a big running back?

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  March 29, 2011 01:30 PM

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Who does the commissioner represent in these current negotiations, owners or players? How can we get rid of this buffoon? He's a disgrace!
Paul King, Weymouth

Roger Goodell represents the owners, Paul. The 32 NFL owners hired him as commissioner in August 2006. Goodell had spent the majority of his career working for the NFL, and was the league’s chief operating officer at the time he was elected commissioner, beating out four other early candidates. Ultimately, he was selected over league counsel Gregg Levy, who is now one of the NFL’s lead attorneys in its upcoming court case against the players. Patriots owner Robert Kraft was one of Goodell’s biggest champions during the process; their relationship goes back years.

But since it was the owners who chose Goodell, it would ultimately be the owners who would fire Goodell, though that seems unlikely. While I understand your frustration at the current state of things between the league and players, remember that Goodell isn’t the one who ultimately flipped the switch on the lockout – it was the owners’ decision.

Now that the union is decertified and the players are locked out, does this change the rules for trading players or draft picks? I am especially interested in knowing if the Patriots can make deals before or during the draft to trade up or trade down. For example; could Pats trade a number 1 or a couple of other picks for Miles Austin?
John Spencer, Lynn

As long as the lockout is ongoing, John, there can be no trading of players. During the draft, teams can trade only draft picks – so your Miles Austin notion, while intriguing, won’t be possible unless the NFL and players come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement before the draft begins on April 28.

And once the draft ends, teams cannot contact the players they just chose. Nor can they sign those undrafted rookies; those young men will unfortunately languish until a new CBA is in place and business picks up as usual in the NFL.

Now that the NFL has moved the kick off up 5 yards, where will the ball be placed when it is kicked out of bounds?
Bill Hurley, Hudson

Under the new rule, Bill, the penalty effectively doesn’t change – a team can still choose to either take possession at its own 40-yard line or at the spot where the kick went out of bounds.

The wording of the out of bounds penalty had to be changed slightly; because the previous kickoff spot was the 30-yard line, the rule read that the receiving team could take possession 30 yards from the spot of the kickoff; since the kickoff spot has been moved up to the 35, the rule now says a team can take possession 25 yards from the spot of the kickoff. Both ways mean teams get to start at their 40.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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