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Goodell says deflategate investigation nearing end

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the so-called deflategate investigation is finally moving toward a conclusion.

In an interview with Peter King of TheMMQB.com on the eve of the league’s owners meetings in Phoenix, Goodell said he expects to get the final report soon from independent investigator Ted Wells.

“I haven’t spoken to (Wells) for several weeks,” Goodell told King. “I think he’s getting near the end, but there’s no requirement when.”

The NFL is investigating the New England Patriots after 11 of 12 game balls they used in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game were found to be underinflated.

Goodell said he gave no thought to making an effort to get the situation resolved before the Super Bowl.

“I think the most important thing is to get the right information, to get the facts and to get the truth,” Goodell said. “And not to make any judgments until you get that. We have been very careful on that. We followed the facts. We took the information. We determined that we should bring Ted Wells to further the investigation. We haven’t given him a timetable except to be thorough, be fair and get to the truth. When he’s completed his report, that will be made public as well as to all of us.

“I think that if you’re going to be thorough, it takes time. You’re having to meet with a lot of people. I guess it’s always too long, because you want to get to that issue and deal with it. It’s important not to exert any pressure to short-circuit or do anything other than be fair and transparent.”

On other topics during the interview, Goodell discussed the possible expansion of the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams and whether he ever considered resigning in 2014 because of the off-the-field turmoil that took attention away from the game on the field.

King asked Goodell why the playoff expansion topic had cooled.

“I don’t think it’s cooled at all,” Goodell said. “There are a lot of factors that go into it. One, we want to be right when we do it. … It’s something that we think has got a lot of merit from a competitive side, because it would actually add more teams to the race as you get toward the end of the season. There’s the broadcasting side of it. When would you play that extra game?”

Meanwhile, Goodell had a short answer when asked whether he considered resigning after the firestorm last year for his handling of multiple issues, including the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

“No. N-O. No,” the commissioner said.

However, Goodell admitted 2014 was a trying year for himself and those close to him.

“You know, when you’re trying to fix the things you need to fix, it’s not as difficult as it is on the people around you,” he said. “Fellow employees. Our fans. I’d start with my family, the people who know you. Those are the people you worry about. But for me it was, we had a job to do and we had to get it done.

“I’m proud of what we did. I think what we did in developing a new personal conduct policy and making the changes that we made in education and making sure that people understand this issue, the things that we did more publicly about bringing to light this issue I think will be beneficial long-term to society — those things are things that we’ll look back and be proud of those accomplishments.

“We’re sorry we got to the place we got to (and) the way we got to it, but that is something that we now can look back at and build on. … We’re actually starting to see it. People are saying, ‘People should adopt the personal conduct policy of the NFL in other institutions and other industries.’ That’s rewarding to some extent.

“We’re sorry we got to the place we got to (and) the way we got to it. But that is something that we now can look back at and build on.”


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