NFL ready to move on from 'Deflategate'

Posted at 4:47 PM, Apr 27, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) — As far as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is concerned, the league is ready to move on from "Deflategate."

Speaking two days after a major victory for the NFL in its dispute with New England quarterback Tom Brady and the players' union, Goodell defended the league's discipline process for players in the wake of critical comments by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. While praising Chicago's work on the NFL draft, he offered no clues as to where it might be held next year.

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Brady must serve a four-game suspension handed down by the NFL for the use of underinflated footballs at the AFC championship game in January 2015. The court overturned a ruling by a Manhattan judge while siding with the league in its battle with the NFL Players Association.

"It should have been the decision last year from the district court, and that's what the appellate court said," Goodell said Wednesday. "They reaffirmed our authority and the underlying facts to the case, so we think it came out in the right place. So we're not planning any more steps. We obviously would like to put the matter behind us and move forward."

The NFLPA could appeal the decision to the full 2nd Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court, but it likely would be a time-consuming climb even if the courts took the unusual step to consider it. A message was left Wednesday seeking comment from the union.

Brady and the NFL also could negotiate a settlement, a possibility left open by Goodell.

"We're not going to sit here and hypothetically talk about what we're going to do," Goodell said. "We had a lot of discussions last year. But the determination by the appellate court was very clear and very strong. We will continue, obviously, to negotiate with the union on the commissioner discipline issue. We've done that in the past. We've made changes in the past and we're still open to doing that."

Put Brees in the camp hoping for more changes. Reacting to the NFL's successful appeal of the Brady case, Brees told he thinks the commissioner has too much power and he doesn't trust any investigation led by the league.

Goodell said the league strives for fairness when it comes to the rules.

"The rules apply to every player. They apply to every team. They apply equally, and that's what we do," he said. "It doesn't matter whether you're the first person on the roster or you're the 53rd man on the roster, the rules apply to all teams fairly and equally."

Goodell joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some of the NFL's top prospects for a football clinic for a group of kids in Grant Park on the eve of the NFL draft. The first round begins Thursday night at a downtown theater, but Goodell was quiet when asked about where it might be held in 2017.

He acknowledged Philadelphia was a possibility. He said the league wants to move it around, but declined to rule out a return to Chicago for a third straight year.

"Our staff's been working on it," Goodell said. "Once we get done with this event, we'll sit down, we'll evaluate this event and the alternatives, and then we'll make a decision, probably I would guess in the next 60 days, 90 days."

The timeline for resolving the Raiders' situation in Oakland is more up in the air. Owner Mark Davis is flirting with moving the franchise to Las Vegas after a long dalliance with relocating to Los Angeles, but Goodell said there is nothing to talk about right now when it comes to such a move.

"Those are decisions that are made once there is an opportunity and where there's an alternative. They're far from that at this point in time," he said. "The Raiders were given permission by the other clubs to evaluate their options and to consider other alternatives. They're doing that."