Biggs: Goodell getting out to meet with players

LAKE FOREST, Ill.—Roger Goodell is getting out and meeting the players, and he gathered with the Chicago Bears this morning for a 30-minute Q&A session at Halas Hall.

The NFL commissioner is not getting out and delivering a message as much as he is fielding questions and gauging players for what is on their minds.

“They have a variety of concerns. They talk about the business, the future. We talk a lot about player safety,’’ Goodell told the National Football Post. “They talk about what happens on the field, the quality of the game, what we could be doing better. I really encourage them to bring to me what they think needs to be addressed both on and off the field.”

To that end, Goodell formed a player advisory committee last week that includes former coach Tony Dungy and players Kurt Warner, Ray Lewis and Brian Dawkins. As he has said in the past, he’s a commissioner for everyone in the game, not just the owners. He wants an open line of communication with the league’s greatest asset—the players—and he’s continuing to make strides in that direction. Showing up and meeting with an entire team takes that initiative a step further.

The biggest question hanging over the game right now is the labor issue and whether or not an agreement can be reached on a new collective bargaining agreement in time to prevent an uncapped year in 2010.

<p>“I think the most encouraging thing is that people are talking and they’re addressing issues,’’ Goodell said. “The negotiating team for the owners and the negotiating team for the players are talking. I think that is the most positive thing because it is going to get resolved at the negotiating table.”

Regular talks have been held and Goodell doesn’t believe getting to the bargaining table will be the issue.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of not meeting enough,’’ he said. “I think both sides are willing to meet as frequently as necessary.”

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