NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conducted his usual pre-Super Bowl press conference today, and even though he took questions from reporters for nearly 45 minutes, he didn’t provide many noteworthy updates. Goodell did drop the occasional interesting nugget, announcing that the Raiders and Texans will play in Mexico City on November 21, and revealing that he has recommended to the competition committee that a player who commits two person fouls in a game is automatically ejected.
When it came to questions about the NFL’s PSI study, stadium plans for San Diego and Oakland, potential changes to the league’s drug policy, and the NFL’s investigation into Al Jazeera’s HGH allegations, Goodell declined to get into specifics, offering only general answers. According to Goodell, the PSI checks didn’t turn up any violations, the NFL wants to keep the Chargers and Raiders where they are, the league doesn’t expect any marijuana-related policy changes, and the HGH-allegation investigation (in conjunction with WADA and other leagues) is ongoing.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NFL:
- NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the union will reach a resolution with the NFL over a change in Goodell’s role in player discipline, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets. The commissioner was characteristically evasive today when asked about that issue.
- Smith also projected another $10MM boost for the league’s salary cap in 2016 (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of Indianapolis Star), and and singled out the Raiders and Jaguars as two teams that are well below the 89% cash spending floor. According to Smith (link via Barry Wilner of The Associated Press), Oakland is $41MM below the threshold and Jacksonville is $28MM below. Those teams could be active in free agency this offseason to get to the necessary level, but they don’t have to be in compliance until March 2017, so extensions next winter for 2014 draftees like Derek Carr and Khalil Mack (Raiders) or Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson (Jaguars) could do the trick.
- Sheldon Adelson, the new owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has installed Craig Moon as the paper’s publisher, and Moon’s early editorial decisions have had an impact on stories about Las Vegas’ proposed stadium, according to Politco’s Ken Doctor. With Adelson hoping to lure the Raiders or another NFL team to the proposed stadium, the Review-Journal has been forced to edit or kill stories about what could turn out to be a $600MM public investment.
- The NFL came close, in recent weeks, to adding a fourth London game to its 2016 schedule, a source tells Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links). However, scheduling conflicts – not to mention the challenge of finding a fourth team willing to give up a home team – forced the league to put that plan on hold.