Goodell expects HGH testing in place for start of '13 season

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he’s been treated well in New Orleans this week as Super Bowl XLVII approaches, something that was a concern given the fallout from the Saints bounty scandal/

"I couldn't feel more welcomed here,” Goodell said today at his state of the league press conference, according to Jarrett Bell of USA Torday. “I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade. We have a voodoo doll. The last couple of nights, I've been out with a lot of the people I worked with after the Katrina tragedy and we all reflected on how well we worked together.

“I understand the fans' loyalty is to the team. They had no part in this (bounty scandal). They were completely innocent. I support their passion.”

Goodell says he believes HGH testing – something the NFL and NFLPA have wrangled over for two years now – will be in place before the start of the 2013 season.

“It's the right thing to do for the players and it's the right thing to do to send a message to everyone else in sports," he said. "The science is there. We need to get to that agreement."

As usual, safety was a big topic and he said he’ll go to any length to ensure the game is as safe as possible. He also talked about a possible expansion of the Rooney Rule after eight head-coaching positions and seven general manager jobs were filled this offseason without a single minority being hired.

"The Rooney Rule has been very effective," Goodell said. “But we have to find out what the next generation of the Rooney Rule is. We want to make sure we have the best people in the best possible situations and give people the opportunity to do that. There were a record number of interviews, but we didn't get the outcomes we wanted."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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