Roger Goodell says NFL concussion lawsuit settlement in best interests of players, too

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference at Tiffany & Co. in New York. (Sept. 4, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday took issue with those who have asserted the league got off easily in its pending $765 million settlement of a lawsuit brought by some 4,500 former players.

"I've seen some of those comments, first off that we make $10 billion [per year]," Goodell said after an event to promote Super Bowl XLVIII. "That's 10 billion of revenue. There's a difference between making [profit] and revenue.

"So this is a significant amount of money. The plaintiffs also believed it was an appropriate amount. The mediator felt it was an appropriate amount. It's a tremendous amount of money. We think it's going to go to the right purpose, which is helping players and their families."

Goodell said the settlement was in the best interests of both the league and former players, avoiding what would have been years of litigation. He said the agreement would not lessen the NFL's push to improve safety.

"Our commitment is very strong and it will only get stronger," he said.

The lawsuit had accused the NFL of concealing long-term effects of concussions and the danger of rushing players back to game action.

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Goodell spoke at an early morning event also attended by Giants and Jets ownership, former players such as Curtis Martin, David Tyree and Emerson Boozer and Super Bowl host committee head Al Kelly.

They introduced the Lombardi Trophy at Tiffany & Co., then posed on Fifth Avenue at the "Huddle Shuttle," a vehicle that will visit locations around the metropolitan area to promote the Feb. 2, 2014, game.

"This is a way for people in this region to experience the Super Bowl and be part of the excitement that's building already," Goodell said.

The commissioner said the game's first visit to the New York area and the first outdoor game in a cold-weather location had helped create "more buzz around this Super Bowl this year than any Super Bowl in its history."

Jets owner Woody Johnson went further, saying, "I think it's going to be the most exciting event the world has ever seen."

As usual, organizers faced questions about the potential for snow and ice. The Farmers' Almanac recently predicted a major storm around the time of the game.

"I would say we have contingency plans for our contingency plans; that's how well prepared we are," Goodell said.

Said Kelly, "Look, we're going to be as ready as we can be. It's not something I can control. I can control trying to be prepared for it. We're not going to worry about what the Farmers' Almanac says."

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