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NFL notebook: Owners plan to discuss Goodell’s role

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The Sports Xchange

In the wake of another courtroom defeat, NFL owners are prepared to discuss changing commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in player discipline, sources told the Washington Post on Friday.

In overturning Goodell’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Thursday that there were “several significant legal deficiencies in how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell investigated the accusation that the Patriots used deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game.”

Berman said the NFL did not give Brady proper notice that he could be suspended, didn’t allow him to question one of the league’s investigators and denied him access to investigative records.

The players’ union has argued to replace Goodell with a neutral arbitrator on appeals of player discipline, and NFL owners seemingly are open to that idea in the wake of cases involving the New Orleans Saints, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Brady in which Goodell’s punishments were altered via outside arbitrators.

“It’s not healthy for the NFL to be in the kind of litigious position that it’s been for the last several years,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think that the commissioner is working hard to hold up the respect and integrity of the game, the competitive balance of the game and the shield. Having said that, I think we have to find ways to get to a better place sooner with the NFLPA than the process that we’ve gone through.

“This Deflategate thing which isn’t about Deflategate any longer. It’s about what has been collectively negotiated for decades in terms of the commissioner’s responsibility in terms of disciplining players. If we have to look at that differently in today’s light, in today’s environment, as an ownership group we should be prepared to do that. The commissioner should be prepared to do that.”

—Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said the organization does not plan to fight to regain lost draft picks or the $1 million fine as part of the original Deflategate penalities.

Kraft, appearing in his weekly pregame interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub prior to Thursday night’s preseason finale, said the organization feels vindicated by a federal court decision to nullify a four-game suspension for Tom Brady.

“Robert is a man of his word,” Kraft said of his father and the team owner. “From the beginning we felt getting Tom cleared was more important than anything else. … I would never say never but as we sit here today it’s not our intention.”

Robert Kraft did not appeal the Patriots’ $1 million fine and the loss of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 as part of the penalties.

—Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels praised Brady for how he stayed focus on his job throughout the legal fight.

“Tom’s a veteran player with a lot of experience, and he’s had to deal with different types of adversities and distractions in the past, whether it be injuries or personnel or something else,” McDaniels said Friday. “I thought he went out and practiced and improved, tried to do his job, worked at his craft and put in a lot of hard work in different areas of playing the position of quarterback. He was prepared, studied hard for practice and games, the OTAs, and all those things we’ve done. That’s the best way to try to go about — control the things you can control — and I thought he did a good job of that.

“I’m happy for Tom. This week, hopefully we will be able to just focus on football, and he’ll be able to do that.”

Brady, who hasn’t spoken publicly to reporters since his Super Bowl MVP news conference on Feb. 2, is expected to address reporters at some point between Saturday and Tuesday, according to ESPN.com.

Coach Bill Belichick was asked Friday about Brady rejoining the Patriots as a result of his four-game suspension being vacated.

“He never left,” Belichick said. “We’ll do the best that we can to have the best plan (and) best preparation for Pittsburgh, as we always do.”

—Tim Tebow made a strong case for the Philadelphia Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback job by throwing two touchdown passes in the preseason finale Thursday night.

Tebow and Matt Barkley were competing to be the third quarterback on the roster behind starter Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez.

On Friday afternoon, the Eagles traded Barkley to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The trade likely means Tebow, who hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2012, will make the Eagles’ roster. The NFL deadline to reduce rosters to 53 players is Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

Tebow completed 11 of 17 passes for 189 yards with one interception and added 32 rushing yards on four carries as the Eagles fell to the New York Jets 24-18 in MetLife Stadium. Barkley went 4-for-9 for 45 yards with an interception.

“I’m not going to worry about what I can’t control,” Tebow said Thursday night after the game. “It’s a blessing being able to come out here and play this game that I love. It was a lot of fun out there tonight. It was a blast.”

—Tom Savage, the Houston Texans’ third quarterback, will miss four to six weeks with a badly sprained shoulder.

Savage was injured when he was hit by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Davon Coleman in the fourth quarter Thursday night.

On Friday, coach Bill O’Brien said Savage will not require surgery but will “miss some significant time.” That equates to 4-6 weeks, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

—Former Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor reached a $988,000 injury settlement with the team following his release earlier this week.

The AFC North rival Steelers are among eight teams interested in the 2011 first-round pick. The Sports Xchange confirmed Taylor visited the Steelers on Wednesday.

Taylor, 27, had asked to be released by the Browns after first-round rookie Danny Shelton emerged as the starter at his position.

—Shane Lechler of the Houston Texans hit the video board at AT&T Stadium with a booming punt in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Lechler admitted after the game, won by the Cowboys 21-14, that he was aiming for the video board and had a wager with teammates about whether he could hit it with a punt.

“I think I’m going to win multiple dinners,” Lechler said Thursday night. “I had a little wager going with some guys. I hit it twice in warmups. I felt good about hitting it on that punt — but not good enough to tell everybody not to run down the field. That’s the first time I’ve had a do-over for hitting a scoreboard.”


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