Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

Roger Goodell gives update on Patriots investigation, Antonio Brown and more

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters Wednesday at the league meeting in Dallas and provided updates on several different topics, including the ongoing investigation into the New England Patriots.

Here are the answers to some of the questions Goodell was asked.

On the Patriots-Bengals investigation...
The New England Patriots are being investigated by the NFL after a video crew taped the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline at last Sunday's Week 14 game in Cleveland. The Patriots said in a statement that the video crew was set there to shoot footage for an upcoming episode of their "Do Your Job" web series. 

There is no set timetable for when the investigation will be concluded, according to Goodell.

"I've actually been down here almost the entire time," Goodell said. "I only had an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of our staff. Obviously, it's under review. We're going to be thorough. We'll take our time and make sure we look at everything that's pertinent here, and then we'll make a decision."

Will the Patriots' history of illegal videotaping (a.k.a. Spygate) play a factor in this current investigation?

“Of course. That's a factor,” Goodell said. “But I think the key things are the new information that we have — that (old) information, we obviously already had. I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident.”

Does Goodell anticipate a conclusion to the investigation by the end of the season?

"I don't have any anticipation," he said. "We're going to be thorough. We're going to get all the facts. We'll go from there."

On the Antonio Brown investigation...
The investigation into the allegations made against former Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has not concluded. Goodell noted investigators still have more work to do before giving the league an update.

“They still have not completed the investigation,” Goodell said. “The investigators did; I did not meet with Antonio. They have more work to do. They are following up on that. I will get an update when they have more information.”

Brown was released by the Patriots on Sept. 20 after a brief 11-day tenure in New England.

On the possibility of reseeding in the playoffs...
It's looking increasingly likely that the winner of the NFC East -- the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles -- will finish with a losing record, but based on the current playoff format, that division winner probably will host a team with 10-plus wins (likely the NFC West runner-up) in the Wild Card round. Should the league reseed in the playoffs to not give teams with losing records a home playoff game just because they won their division? Goodell admitted it's not something being discussed right now.

"This is not the first time this conversation has occurred, or the situation has occurred," Goodell said. "Teams go into the season and the first objective is to win the division. That's what they work on -- we win the division and we get in the playoffs. That is something that we've considered over the years. I have not heard that this year. I don't anticipate hearing it again. It's been discussed in the past, but I don't see that as an issue. If it comes up, we'll certainly have the conversation. I don't anticipate it."

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Roger Goodell gives update on Antonio Brown, 17-game season, NFL officiating and more

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USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell gives update on Antonio Brown, 17-game season, NFL officiating and more

The NFL's Fall League Meeting took place Wednesday in Florida, where commissioner Roger Goodell answered questions on a number of different topics after the session had concluded.

These topics included the CBA, Antonio Brown, tanking and, of course, the officiating we've witnessed this season.

Here are the notable updates from Goodell:

Antonio Brown
The NFL is still investigating various allegations made against Antonio Brown. 

The veteran wide receiver tweeted "Free AB" on Tuesday, suggesting he wants to return to football. Brown has not played for any team since the New England Patriots released him on Sept. 20 amid several off-the-field concerns.

17-game schedule
The NFL reportedly abandoned hope for an 18-game schedule, but a 17-game slate remains in play. But even if an extra game was added, the regular season schedule would still start after the Labor Day holiday.

Officiating
Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions was marred by two controversial penalties. Both flags happened in the second half and went against Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers. The Packers scored a combined 10 points on these two drives, including a game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired. The backlash on social media to the officiating in this game was quite fierce, with many current and former players weighing in. 

CBA talks
The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season. The league and the NFL Players' Association already are negotiating in an effort to avoid any potential work stoppage.

Dolphins tanking?
The Dolphins are 0-6 and could become the first team since the 2008 Lions to go an entire season without winning a single game. Miami's best chance might have been Sunday's Week 6 matchup against the Washington Redskins, where the Dolphins went for a 2-point conversion on the final play trailing 17-16. The playcall was a bad one and the Dolphins failed to convert, prompting even more talk about Miami tanking for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Goodell doesn't see any tanking going on, though.

Draft Lottery
One of the ways to combat tanking is to implement a draft lottery system, similar to what the NBA and NHL use. The NFL is not considering that kind of change at this time, however.


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Just what is the NFL commissioner's exempt list?

Just what is the NFL commissioner's exempt list?

FOXBORO -- There is a way for the NFL to take any decision regarding Antonio Brown's availability out of Bill Belichick's hands. The league could place Antonio Brown on the commissioner's exempt list, which is, in effect, paid leave. 

While on the commissioner's exempt list, a player is paid as if he were on the active roster, yet he does not count against his team's 53-man active roster limit. A player on the exempt list is not allowed to practice or attend games, but he is allowed to be present at the facility for meetings, to work out, and to receive treatment. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would be the one to determine whether or not Brown should be placed on the exempt list after being accused of sexual assault in a civil suit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Washington Post reported that league leaders planned to meet on Wednesday to discuss Brown's situation and if placing him on the exempt list would be appropriate.

The Patriots would have no authority to place Brown on the exempt list, according to the NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual. 

"The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances," NFL.com points out, citing the league's manual. "The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. 

"The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player's time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List."

The league could opt to suspend Brown under the league's personal conduct policy, which does not require a criminal charge or conviction. (Brown has not been formally charged with or convicted of a crime.) But the league, especially recently, has generally opted to wait for legal proceedings to play out before suspending a player under the personal conduct policy.

Michael Vick (2009), Jonathan Vilma (2012), Adrian Peterson (2014), Greg Hardy (2014), Josh Brown (2016), Reuben Foster (2018) and Kareem Hunt (2018) have all landed on the commissioner's exempt list in recent years.

The NFL will conduct an investigation regarding the allegations against Brown, the Patriots announced in a statement late Tuesday night. The Post reported Wednesday that it is unclear whether or not the league would have a decision on whether or not Brown would be placed on the exempt list by the time the Patriots and Dolphins play their Week 2 game in Miami on Sunday afternoon. 

Brown is expected to practice with the Patriots for the first time Wednesday.

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