SAN DIEGO -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday night that he's optimistic that testing for HGH can begin this season but that he's "disappointed" with the slow movement by the players' union.
`'We're completely focused on that. We think it's the right thing to do," Goodell said. "We agreed to it. We think it's the right thing to do for player safety, we think it's important for the credibility of the game, we think it's important as a message to kids who not only play our game, but play any game. You shouldn't be taking performance-enhancing drugs and HGH is certainly something we need to be testing for."
The league and NFLPA tentatively agreed in the contract that ended the lockout to implement testing for human growth hormone. But the union had to approve testing procedures and has not done so, saying it wants more information.
"I'm disappointed. Never discouraged," Goodell said.
"It's something we agreed to. We had talked about it for well over a year. It wasn't something that came up at the last minute. It's important for us as the NFL to continue to be the leader for sports, and that includes performance-enhancing drug testing. We're proud of our program, but clearly this aspect of the program, meaning HGH testing, needs to be implemented, to make sure you have the best program in sports."
Goodell said he doesn't think the NFL will need Congress to intervene.
"Again, we agreed to it, so I'm hopeful we can all live up to our agreements and get it done," he said.
"I respect the fact we want to have a valid test. We didn't initially wrap our arms around this test when it was created in 2004, but there's seven years of history, a lot of science, a lot of medicine is behind it. And we're comfortable that this is a valid test. We respect the fact that the players' association wants to have confidence in that, too. They have access to all the information we have and should be in a position to be able to be confident in that."
The commissioner made his comments before attending a benefit dinner for the Huntington's Disease Society of America San Diego chapter.
On the subject of concussions, Goodell said everybody who's on the field needs to be aware if a player needs medical attention.
Last week, the NFL told its game officials to watch closely for concussion symptoms in players.
The move came after San Diego guard Kris Dielman sustained a head injury against the Jets and later suffered a seizure on the team's flight home from New York.
`'That's something that we believe is the responsibility of everybody who's on the field, whether you're a coach, medical professional, other players or officials," he said. "If you see somebody you think needs medical attention, safety is a priority and they should make sure the right medical attention is given, which means just alert the team and let the medical professionals make those decisions. We're not asking them to make any medical decisions.
"This is something that's evolving and we want to be ahead of the game."
Goodell said he'll meet with San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders on Thursday for an update on the Chargers' attempt to get a new stadium built.
The city expanded Qualcomm Stadium for the Chargers in 1997, but the team began a campaign for a new stadium in 2002.
The Chargers are often rumored to be headed for Los Angeles if an NFL stadium can be built there.
But Goodell didn't sound optimistic about either of two stadium proposals in L.A.
Asked if the NFL returning to Los Angeles was a matter of when rather than if, Goodell said: "Not necessarily. Again, until there's an appropriate solution in Los Angeles, there won't be a team there."
He said he didn't favor either of the sites.
Asked to define an appropriate solution, he said: "The right kind of stadium and we have to make it work for the NFL and obviously for the community and for the team.
Asked about the right kind of stadium, he said: "One, you have to get it built, two, you have to have it financed, and three, it has to be able to generate the kind of revenue that's necessary to keep a team successful. Last but not least, make sure it works for the community."