Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Goodell memo tells teams NFL will find a chief medical officer

National Football Foundation Leadership Hall Of Fame Luncheon Honoring Casey Wasserman

WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 18: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and US Olympic Committee Scott Blackmun speak on stage during the National Football Foundation Leadership Hall Of Fame Luncheon honoring Casey Wasserman at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on November 18, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for National Football Foundation)

Tommaso Boddi

With the oft-criticized Dr. Elliott Pellman being nudged out by the league, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has issued a memo to the 32 teams telling them that a new chief medical officer will be put in place -- one Goodell hopes the players and the fans can trust.

"[W]e intend to hire a highly-credentialed physician to serve as Chief Medical Officer and work in the league office on a full-time basis,” Goodell wrote in the memo, a copy of which PFT obtained. “This individual will be responsible for working with our team medical staffs, the NFLPA and our medical committees, as well as the broader independent scientific and medical communities. This individual will add to our expertise and help ensure that our clubs have access to the most up-to-date information, that our research funds are spent in an effective and targeted way, and that our players and team staffs receive timely and thorough information on injuries and injury prevention.”

Although Pellman’s departure is officially being termed a “retirement,” a league source confirmed to PFT that Goodell made the decision for the league to move on from Pellman, knowing the league needs to hire someone the players and fans trust to handle concussions appropriately. Pellman has been subjected to criticism from players like D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who said Pellman didn’t deal forthrightly with players about the risks of brain injuries. Pellman agreed to retire because Goodell wanted him out.

The search for a chief medical officer will be overseen by several doctors affiliated with the NFL, as well as Jeff Miller from the league office and 49ers owner Dr. John York.