Commissioner says NFL can put off-field troubles behind

Updated: September 6, 2007, 9:01 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Roger Goodell, who spent a good portion of his first year as NFL commissioner dealing with player discipline, says he thinks the league has come out of those problems well.

"I think most people think we've dealt with it responsibily," Goodell said just before Thursday night's opening game between the New Orleans Saints and the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.

Goodell recently suspended Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick indefinitely after Vick pleaded guilty to being involved with dogfighting. Earlier, he had suspended Tennessee's Adam "Pacman" Jones for a year for numerous run-ins with the law, and Cincinnati's Chris Henry and ex-Chicago Bear Tank Johnson for eight games for legal problems.

He also added another year to the suspension of Cincinnati linebacker Odell Thurman, who was suspended for the entire 2006 season. Asked what caused him to add to Thurman's suspension, Goodell replied that he didn't want to get into specifics.

Goodell said he sensed most NFL players agreed with his action.

"We've consulted with the players all along on this and they've been behind us," he said. He recently appointed a council made up of veteran players to advise him on conduct issues, among other things, and also has had the support of the NFL Players Association on disciplinary issues.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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