Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: December 18, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Goodell: NFL wants doc eyeing game 'at all times'

By Will Brinson

Last Thursday night, Colt McCoy suffered a nasty concussion that's stirred up plenty of debate about the NFL's policy for how teams handle on-field medical evaluation, because McCoy was never tested for a concussion yet he had one and still came back in the game.

Roger Goodell spoke with CBS Sports James Brown during a "Conversations with CBS Sports" sit down and said that the league is committed to keeping a doctor on hand to watch and then evaluate plays in which a player suffers an injury like McCoy's.

"I think that's one of the keys, JB," Goodell said. "We want to make sure someone -- a medical professional -- has his eyes on that field at all times and can see when an injury occurs to somebody so that the proper medical care is being given."


Presumably, said doctor will be positioned up high near the press and/or coaches box, but sequestered enough to ensure objectivity. He or she will then watch the game and have access to replays and slow-motion footage to ensure that a player who might have suffered a concussion won't be allowed to return to the game until properly and objectively evaluated.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:48 pm
 

NFL denies James Harrison's suspension appeal

By Will Brinson

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)

Steelers linebacker James Harrison was suspended one game by the NFL this week. He also filed an expedited appeal, and the NFL announced on Friday that his appeal was denied, meaning Harrison will miss the Steelers game against San Francisco Monday.

James Harrison suspended

It's hardly a surprise that Harrison's suspension held up, although because of the way of the hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy unfolded (McCoy became a runner and then decided to pass at the last second), there was a possibility of the punishment being overturned.

"It is clear from the video that you squared up and led with the crown of your helmet when you contacted Colt McCoy," on-field appeals officer Ted Cottrell, who heard the appeal, said in a letter to Harrison. "This is precisely the technique that you must avoid using as a defender. I have determined that your actions were particularly egregious and warranted the discipline imposed by Ray Anderson."

The linebacker's history of violent and/or flagrant hits (the NFL says Harrison's been punished five times for illegal hits on a quarterback) contributed to his punishment and clearly the appeal as well.

 "I'm not surprised. You're appealing to the same people who put the suspension in place, so no, I'm not surprised at all," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. "I don't care about the league's message anymore. It's about us as a football team playing the type of football that's going to help us win championships, despite who gets suspended, despite who gets fined.

"We're going to try to play within the rules. We're going to stop fighting this battle of talking to them. That's what this is about."

Harrison's hit on McCoy led to plenty of controversy -- not only with Harrison's suspension and Mike Tomlin telling Steelers players to keep quiet, either. McCoy was never checked for a concussion and re-entered the game.

Additionally, the NFL is reportedly set to start handing out lengthy suspensions for on-field violations.

"Like I said on Wednesday, my disappointment is for James," Clark said. "He's been trying really hard to comply with what's being asked of him. For him to be suspended for this situation, to us, is disheartening. To me, it was a between-the-whistle play. They're making an example out of him for it this year. I don't think it's right.

"We have to continue playing and just roll with the punches and try to win games without one of our best players."

Harrison's suspension was the first for an "illegal hit" and he could potentially miss multiple games if he doesn't change his approach to playing defense.

"Oh well. It is what it is," Harrison told Josina Anderson of ESPN. "That's the decision I was expecting anyways. I'll deal with it and move on."


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Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:54 pm
 

NFL to hand out 'substantial' bans to violators?

By Will Brinson

Harrison's physical style finally caught up to him. (Getty Images)

Roger Goodell's handed out just a few on-field suspensions during his tenure as NFL Commissioner, but two of those came in the last three weeks, as both Ndamukong Suh and James Harrison were suspended. And if either of those gentlemen cross the line again, they could reportedly face "substantial suspensions."

James Harrison suspended

That's according to NFL.com's Steve Wyche, who reported Tuesday night that "there might not be much latitude" for guys like Harrison and Suh who have already been suspended once by the league.

"Three games, four games, five games, six games? It could happen depending on the circumstance," Wyche's source said. "They are repeat offenders, which mean suspensions are more likely."

Wyche's source also indicated that had Harrison not hit Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in the head, Harrison "probably have been fine" and avoided a suspension from the league.

Suh finished serving his two-game suspension on Sunday and will return to the field this week. Harrison was suspended on Tuesday morning and is waiting on an expedited appeal to determine his status for Monday night's game against the 49ers.


There's no mention of a specific timeline that encapsulates the not-quite-official warning for Harrison and Suh in Wyche's article, but as we talked about on Tuesday's podcast, Harrison actually played fine-free for quite some time, one has to assume it's permanent.

Additionally, the headline on the league's homepage at NFL.com -- "Harrison facing lengthy ban for next hit" -- doesn't leave much to the imagination when it comes to what will happen to the Steelers linebacker (or the Lions defensive tackle or any other player who's suspended) with continued violations of on-field policy.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Harrison could appeal, Tomlin 'disappointed'

If history is any guide, the league is unlikely to overturn Harrison's appeal. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Tuesday, the NFL suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison for one game after his hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. It was Harrison's first personal-foul penalty of the season, but he was fined $100,000 a year ago for three illegal hits.

James Harrison suspended
Pittsburgh faces San Francisco on Monday night in a game that could determine whether they enter the playoffs with a first-round bye or as a wild-card team. (If the Ravens lose to the Chargers on Sunday, and the Steelers wins its three remaining games -- against San Francisco, St. Louis and Cleveland -- then they would win the AFC North.) 

Harrison can appeal the NFL's ruling, but based on head coach Mike Tomlin's comments Tuesday afternoon, the team is planning to be without him in San Francisco.

"We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course," Tomlin said, according to the Steelers.com Twitter feed. "We will move forward, James will move forward."

More Tomlin, via the CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder: "We're disappointed. We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office."

Harrison missed four games earlier this season with an eye injury. Pittsburgh went 4-0 over that stretch with some combination of LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds and Chris Carter taking snaps at the two outside linebacker positions.

Woodley, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Patriots on October 30 and has been on the field for just a few series since, is set to return against the 49ers.

While the Steelers are planning to be without their Pro Bowl linebacker, Harrison's agent says he will appeal.

"James and I will have a discussion and figure out our next step," agent Bill Parise told the Post-Gazette. "The procedure would be to appeal. James and I will work through that and ask for an expedited hearing because we're dealing with a suspension.

"My job right now is to continue to read this and talk to my client and he and I together will make an intelligent decision and we'll move expediently."


CBS' NFL insider Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy.

Shortly after the NFL's ruling, Harrison tweeted: "Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game."

In all likelhood, that next game will be on December 24 when the Steelers host the Rams.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 5:27 pm
 

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Harrison's physical style finally caught up to him. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL announced Tuesday that Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been suspended one game for his hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday night, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms.

Harrison can appeal the NFL's ruling, but based on head coach Mike Tomlin's comments Tuesday afternoon, the team is planning to be without him in San Francisco. 

James Harrison suspended
"We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course," Tomlin said, according to the Steelers.com Twitter feed. "We will move forward, James will move forward." 

More Tomlin, via the CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder: "We're disappointed. We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office." 

While the Steelers are planning to be without their Pro Bowl linebacker, Harrison's agent says he will appeal. 

"James and I will have a discussion and figure out our next step," agent Bill Parise told the Post-Gazette. "The procedure would be to appeal. James and I will work through that and ask for an expedited hearing because we're dealing with a suspension. 

"My job right now is to continue to read this and talk to my client and he and I together will make an intelligent decision and we'll move expediently." 

It was Harrison's first roughing-the-passer penalty of the season. A year ago, he was fined $100,000 for flagrant hits on then-Titans quarterback Vince Young ($5K), Browns' receiver Mohamed Massaquoi ($75K), and Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($20K).

At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

On Monday, Harrison said he shouldn't be suspended.

"I don't think it's suspension-worthy," he said after practice, according to Finder. "I don't think it's worthy of anything, but that's just my own personal thoughts."


CBS' NFL insider Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy.

The NFL determined that the hit was illegal because even though McCoy had tucked the ball to run, and had taken five steps before deciding at the last second to throw the ball, he's still considered a quarterback and afforded the rules that protect them. At no time during the play was McCoy, in the league's eyes (and according to the rules), considered a runner.

"They didn't even call helmet-to-helmet; they called roughing the passer," Harrison said. "He took off running with it and, at the last second, he like chuck-and-ducked. He tucked the ball and made like he was about to run. So I was going to tackle him."

CBS Sports' Charley Casserly said Sunday that ignorance of the rules wasn't an excuse.

"The league office told [Harrison]: next infraction, escalating discipline, including a possible suspension," Casserly said on The NFL Today. "Head coach Mike Tomlin went to the league office this year to do what I call 'a review of the rules.' From the league's point of view, there's no excuse for any Steeler not knowing the rules."

Sports Illustrated's Peter King thought there might be a chance Harrison would avoid suspension:

“A league source tells me there will be one major mitigating factor in deciding whether to suspend or fine Harrison and that is this: Colt McCoy took five full strides with the ball as a runner, leading Harrison to believe that he could hit him as if he were a running back. I believe he should be only fined and not suspended.”

So would Harrison change anything on the play that left McCoy with a concussion?

"Knowing I got a penalty, yeah I would have did it differently," he said.

Harrison missed four games earlier this season with an eye injury. Pittsburgh went 4-0 over that stretch with some combination of LaMarr WoodleyLawrence TimmonsJason Worilds and Chris Carter taking snaps at the two outside linebacker positions.  Woodley, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Patriots on October 30 and has been on the field for just a few series since, is set to return against the 49ers

Shortly after the NFL's ruling, Harrison tweeted: "Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game." 

In all likelhood, that next game will be on December 24 when the Steelers host the Rams

Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark was fined $40,000 earlier this season for a hit on Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson (head coach Mike Tomlin was said to be furious about the punishment). Troy Polamalu was also fined, once for a horse-collar tackle in Week 1, and again in late October for using a cell phone on the sidelines during a game.

                                                                                                                                                                                          (Getty Images)
This is only the third time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended a player since replacing Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games after stomping on the head of center Andre Gurode. Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games last month for stepping on the arm of a Packers player.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:06 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 9:09 am
 

NFL: Union 'stalling' on HGH; NFLPA wants clarity

By Will Brinson



The NFL was supposed to have Human Growth Hormone (HGH) testing by the time the 2011 season kicked off, but a difference of opinion between the league and union on the transparency of testing remains a critical sticking point.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL and NFLPA agreed only to "discuss and develop" -- not to actually implement -- a plan for HGH testing in the NFL. So even though the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is prepared to begin testing, until the union approves the testing procedure, there's little the league can do outside of posture to make testing a reality.

The NFLPA wants to see the specifics of WADA's population studies as they relate to the organization's test. WADA believes their basic test for HGH is an acceptable standard already. And the NFL thinks the union is simply "stalling."

"There is no debate among the experts about the validity of the test," NFL VP of communications Greg Aiello told CBSSports.com Thursday. "The union is simply continuing to engage in stalling tactics."

The NFLPA's argument isn't against the validity of the test, however, but rather the transparency involved in creating the baseline standards for determining what players took HGH.

"Nobody knows what goes into the WADA standard of how they adjudicate players who have apparently or been told they take HGH," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said recently at NFLPA headquarters. "So if we are going to go to a system where our guys are going to be measured against a standard we can't see and a standard that we can't challenge, if you were in my job would you recommend doing that? No."


Because HGH is a naturally occurring substance within the human body, testing whether or not an individual is using the hormone anabolically isn't as simple as drawing blood and detecting a presence of HGH. It exists in the bodies and blood of NFL fans as much as it does NFL players.

The issue at hand for the NFL and NFLPA, then, is determining what the baseline level of HGH in a "normal" football players is, and then using that to move forward in testing players. One problem -- WADA not only will not provide a separate population study for NFL players, but the organization believes the NFLPA's running with ulterior motives when it comes to roadblocking the test.

"The players are making a very good go of trying to say it is a problem by not agreeing to be tested. I would have thought if there wasn't a problem, they would say, 'Hey, test us,'" WADA director general David Howman said at a recent anti-doping conference. "If you've got nothing to hide, open up."

According to Smith, however, the players did offer to "open up," and test NFL players to create a separate population study by which to judge players who test positive.

"We said, fine, if you don't want to turn over that information, here's what we'll do," Smith said. "We will test the players themselves, create our own population study, where we can know it, we can see it and we can see the standard. And then after that we can see the standard and we will know whether or not that standard is applicable and we can ensure that standard is scientifically reliable."

WADA declined the NFLPA's offer, in part, because the organization believes its current test ("in operation since 2004" according to WADA's Senior Manager Media Relations and Communications Terence O'Rourke) provides an acceptable standard by which to measure the level of HGH in any athlete, including football players.

"Based on the concept of the test, there is no reason to believe that American footballers behave any differently than the tens of thousands of athletes being subject to this HGH test," O'Rourke told CBSSports.com. "Please note that this individual information has no bearing on the validity of the test. That is why there is absolutely no point in conducting another sample study."

Complicating the problem is the appeals process for players who test positive for HGH. If the news is discovered (and/or the player is suspended), there's already a public backlash waiting to happen. And as we've seen with numerous instances of cycling over the past few years, positive tests can devolved into ugly he-said-type public-relations battles.

The good news is that there's an available remedy.

"Athletes do NOT appeal to WADA, they appeal either to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) or, at national level, to a suitable independent and impartial body as outlined in Article 13.2.2 of the [World Anti-Doping Code]," O'Rourke told CBSSports.com. (You can find the code here in .PDF format.)

If the parties involved were able to reach a comprimise on what might qualify as a "suitable independent and impartial body" there's a chance the implementation of HGH testing could be expedited.

But as we've seen with player discipline, finding an impartial group of people who don't have an opinion about the NFL one way or another is a pretty difficult thing to do.

So as it stands right now, there's little chance that the NFL sees HGH testing in the immediate future, with the 2011 season almost entirely off the table at this point.

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Packers RB thinks Suh's suspension is 'absurd'

Grant on Suh: 'It was about as overboard as you can get what he did; it’s just not football' (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

As expected, Lions defensive tackle and amateur kickball player Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games for stomping on a Packers lineman during last Thursday's Green Bay-Detroit Thanksgiving Day get-together.

Suh is appealing his suspension. The decision is expected by 3 p.m. ET Thursday, though we expect the hearing to go something like this:

NFL appeals board: "Mr. Suh, we're prepared to hear your opening statement but just know that whatever you say we will deny your appeal. So either we can wrap this up now, call it a day, and beat the traffic, or we can drag this out. Whatever, you ain't playing again until Week 15."



This is only the second time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended a player for more than a game. The other instance came in 2006 when then-Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth got a five-game suspension for stomping on the head of Cowboys center Andre Gurode.

Haynesworth's actions were malicious and if he had been suspended for the season we don't imagine anybody would've protested. Suh wasn't going to hurt anybody, but what he did certainly merited a suspension if for no other reason than to send the message that we're all tired of the way he plays the game after the whistle.

Well, some people don't think two games is a punishment that fits the crime. Take Packers running back Ryan Grant, for example.

“I think it’s absurd. It was about as overboard as you can get what he did; it’s just not football," Ryan said during an appearance on WSSP (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "Can’t have that. It was ridiculous, and it’s not something you want to see regardless. I’m not a fan of the apology, I’m not a fan of what he said. Anybody in hindsight can say all that, but we’re talking about something that’s not exactly a first occurrence. There have been issues, there have been talks and communication with the commissioner and across the board.”


This Sunday night, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will take on Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Who will get the victory? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz go inside the numbers and preview this intense matchup.

The man makes some good points but like we mentioned above, Suh wasn't malicious, just stupid. Then again, if the punishment is based on the act regardless of intent then Suh (forgive us in advance) doesn't have a leg to stand on.

But as PFT.com's Michael David Smith wrote earlier today, "Suh could point out (to the commissioner at his appeals hearing) that his ejection and two-game suspension is a much stiffer punishment than other players received for dirty plays: Grant’s teammate Charles Woodson was neither ejected nor suspended for punching Saints tight end David Thomas. Vikings defensive end Brian Robison was neither ejected nor suspended for kicking Packers guard T.J. Lang in the groin."


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Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Ndamukong Suh suspended 2 games, will appeal

Posted by Will Brinson



As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman noted earlier, Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games without pay by the NFL on Tuesday for his actions in Detroit's loss to Green Bay on Thanksgiving.

Suh received the suspension due to the fact that the incident in the Packers-Lions game was Suh's fifth on-field violation over the past two years, according to the NFL.

"NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks notified Ndamukong Suh today that he has been suspended without pay for the Lions' next two games for his unsportsmanlike conduct in the Lions-Packers game on Thanksgiving Day," a statement from the NFL, obtained by Freeman, reads. "It was Suh's fifth violation of on-field rules in the past two seasons that has resulted in league discipline. Suh may not practice or be at the team practice facility for any other activities during the two-game suspension.

"He will be reinstated on December 12. Under the CBA, the suspension may be appealed within three business days. If appealed, an expedited hearing and decision would take place this week in advance of this weekend's games."

Suh drew a lot of criticism for his decision not to apologize for his actions, then apologize via Facebook (!), then finally call Roger Goodell on Sunday night and apologize for his actions on Thursday.

Suh isn't the only one who stands to lose money here ($164,000, to be exact). The Lions could also be a little lighter in their proverbial wallets. Freeman explains:

"League rules stipulate that when a player is suspended or fined, the amount of the fine, up to a maximum of $50,000 per infraction, counts towards a club's season total.

"If a team reaches $100,000 in fines the club must forfeit $50,000. If a team reaches $150,000, then it must forfeit an additional $25,000, and match any subsequent fine/suspension amounts for remainder of season.

So, bottom line, the Suh suspension put the Lions over that $100,000 season total. Lions players have already been fined at least that much this season so not only is that $100,000 mark already likely been reached, the next mark could be as well. The team fine would happen at the end of the season once all appeals and reductions are accounted for."

There's more (of course there is): a source close to the embattled defensive tackle tells Freeman that Suh has appealed his suspension. "Suh was urged, I'm told, by union and others that suspension was heavy handed and he should appeal. He officially has."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com