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The Super Bowl is fast approaching so Ray Didinger provides a scouting report on the Ravens and 49ers (see story).
Here is a look at the top NFL stories:
Goodell talks player safety
NEW ORLEANS -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to share the blame.
"Safety," he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference, "is all of our responsibilities."
Not surprisingly, given that thousands of former players are suing the league about its handling of concussions, the topics of player health and improved safety dominated Goodell's 45-minute session Friday. And he often sounded like someone seeking to point out that players or others are at fault for some of the sport's problems -- and need to help fix them.
"I'll stand up. I'll be accountable. It's part of my responsibility. I'll do everything," Goodell said. "But the players have to do it. The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it. Our medical professionals have to do it."
Injuries from hits to the head or to the knee, Goodell noted, can result from improper tackling techniques used by players and taught by coaches. The NFL Players Association needs to allow testing for human growth hormone to go forward so it can finally start next season, which Goodell hopes will happen. He said prices for Super Bowl tickets have soared in part because fans re-sell them above face value.
And asked what he most rues about the New Orleans Saints bounty case -- a particularly sensitive issue around these parts, of course -- Goodell replied: "My biggest regret is that we aren't all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get (bounties) out of the game, to make the game safer. Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility. That's what I regret, that I wasn't able to make that point clearly enough with the union."
He addressed other subjects, such as improving the Rooney Rule after none of 15 recently open coach or general manager jobs went to a minority candidate; using next year's Super Bowl in New Jersey as a test for future cold-weather, outdoor championship games; and saying he welcomed President Barack Obama's recent comments expressing concern about football's violence because "we want to make sure that people understand what we're doing to make our game safer."
Coming soon: HGH testing
NEW ORLEANS -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he believes there will be an agreement soon with the players' union for testing for human growth hormone.
At his annual state of the NFL news conference Friday, Goodell said he expects an agreement for the tests to be reached in time for the start of the 2013 season.
Goodell noted that the league and union agreed to the testing two years ago in the collective bargaining agreement. He said it is important to have testing to retain the integrity and the brand of the league.
Goodell also said he is not going to give up his authority to discipline players for various offenses, something he said has served the league well over the years.
Foster denies heart surgery report
HOUSTON -- Houston Texans running back Arian Foster says he has not spoken to his doctors about "any surgery" after a report that he was likely to undergo a heart procedure in about a month.
The NFL Network reported Thursday that Foster was considering an ablation procedure to address a heart issue he's had since he was 12.
According to the Mayo Clinic's official Web site, such a procedure involves the use of a catheter to correct structural problems that can lead to an abnormal heartbeat.
Foster said in a statement released Friday he has "no complications with my blood pumper." Foster left in the third quarter of the Texans' 23-6 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 23 with an irregular heartbeat.
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