Commissioner ’following up’ on Favre investigation
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says he’s still “following up” on some of the information in the Brett Favre investigation to make sure it’s thorough and reaches “the right conclusion.”
Goodell met with Favre briefly during his visit to Minnesota for Monday’s Bears-Vikings game at snowy TCF Bank Stadium. He did not elaborate on the nature of the work he has left to do on the investigation, nor would he be specific when asked when he’ll declare his decision.
“I’m not going to put a timetable on it, other than I did say I hope it’ll be by the end of the regular season,” Goodell said.
He added: “We want to be as thorough and serious about it and reach the right conclusion.”
Favre said he had a “brief conversation” with Goodell before the game, but the quarterback declined to elaborate on the discussion.
“I wouldn’t call that an investigation or anything like that,” Favre said.
Favre allegedly sent inappropriate messages and lewd photos to former New York Jets game emcee Jenn Sterger two years ago when they were both with the team. The allegations against the 41-year-old quarterback surfaced months ago on the website Deadspin.
Favre, who was declared out for the game when the Vikings issued their injury report on Saturday, was upgraded to questionable on Monday and started despite a sprained throwing shoulder that kept him out the week before and ended his NFL-record streak of 297 straight regular-season games started.
His return didn’t last long. Bears defensive end Corey Wootton slammed Minnesota’s 41-year-old quarterback to the ground in the second quarter, and Favre watched the rest of a 40-14 loss from the bench.
Favre has said several times this year that this will be his last season, and only two games remain.
Goodell requested a meeting earlier in the day with Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton regarding the team’s drive for a new stadium. The Vikings had been lobbying for a new place to play for more than a decade before the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the weight of last weekend’s blizzard.
Goodell also met with business leaders, union leaders and state legislators. He said he’ll help however he can.
“I think there’s a recognition that we need to find a long-term solution for the Vikings here, get a new stadium built, and we’re all going to work together,” commissioner said.
Dayton said before the meeting that Goodell will have a “crucial” role in the process.
“If it’s a good deal for the people of Minnesota, I’ll support it,” Dayton said. “If the financial benefits of 8,000 construction jobs, the taxes they pay, the additional revenues from contractors, subcontractors, all of the financial gains to the state of Minnesota exceed the costs, then it’s a good deal for the people of Minnesota.”
Two separate groups in Los Angeles are aiming to build stadiums there. The Vikings have a lease at the Metrodome through next season. But Goodell said he “certainly” hopes the franchise would not be relocated.
“Our focus is entirely on making sure they’re successful here in this market,” Goodell said.
Goodell stopped by the Metrodome to see the damage and called it “quite startling.” Because the focus has been on getting the stadium at the University of Minnesota ready, Goodell said, it was too early to assess the Metrodome’s status for next season.
Players from both the Bears and the Vikings voiced worry this week about the safety of the turf at TCF Bank Stadium, the University of Minnesota’s home field, but Goodell said experts have signed off on the condition and expressed no concern about it.
“We have great respect for the players,” Goodell said. “They’re a part of developing these rules and focusing on the techniques that we think should be eliminated from the game. We’ll continue to make sure that the rules are enforced to make the game as safe as possible.”
Goodell also addressed the status of the league’s labor talks with the players’ union, given the lack of a collective bargaining agreement in place for next season.
“We’re not as close as I’d like to be. We have a lot more work to be done,” Goodell said. “We have time to get it done, but it’s going to need a very concerted effort to get that done.”
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