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NFL's Goodell aims to share blame on player safety

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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— New Orleans will not get back the second-round draft pick Goodell stripped in his bounty ruling;

— Goodell would not give a time frame for when the NFL could hold a game in Mexico;

— next season's games in London — 49ers-Jaguars and Steelers-Vikings — are sellouts.

Goodell mentioned some upcoming changes, including the plan to add independent neurologists to sidelines to help with concussion care during games — something players have asked for and the league opposed until now.

"The No. 1 issue is: Take the head out of the game," Goodell said. "I think we've seen in the last several decades that players are using their head more than they had when you go back several decades."

He said one tool the league can use to cut down on helmet-to-helmet hits is suspending players who keep doing it.

"We're going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders," Goodell said. "We're going to have to take them off the field. Suspension gets through to them."

The league will add "expanded physicals at the end of each season ... to review players from a physical, mental and life skills standpoint so that we can support them in a more comprehensive fashion," Goodell said.

With question after question about less-than-light matters, one reporter drew a chuckle from Goodell by asking how he's been treated this week in a city filled with supporters of the Saints who are angry about the way the club was punished for the bounty system the NFL said existed from 2009-11.

"My picture, as you point out, is in every restaurant. I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade. We got a voodoo doll," Goodell said.

But he added that he can "appreciate the passion" of the fans and, actually, "couldn't feel more welcome here."

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich