INDIANAPOLIS – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw led a group discussion Thursday on how to deal with the recent spree of crimes involving players.
Aside from Goodell and Upshaw, Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and approximately 10 players, including Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall and Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, took part in the meeting.
Hall's impression was that Goodell meant business, particularly after the latest incident involving Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. Jones allegedly was involved in a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club Sunday that left one man paralyzed.
"I think the commissioner means business on this stuff," Hall said Friday. "He's not playing on this. He wants it fixed. We all want it fixed. We want it fixed for the guys who are playing now, who are coming in this year and who are coming in during the future."
The meeting was planned before the incident involving Jones in Las Vegas and came after both Goodell and Upshaw were outspoken during the week of the Super Bowl when asked about cleaning up players' conduct.
Last season, the league seemingly went through more arrests than in recent years. Nine Cincinnati players were arrested, and the league was embarrassed when Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth stomped on the head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode. As the regular season ended, there also was tragedy. Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed on New Year's Day in a drive-by shooting that has yet to be solved.
Williams' death prompted Bowlen to vow to work with the league to fix the problem. Bowlen indicated he was encouraged by the meeting Thursday.
"It was a good, productive way of talking about several different areas," Bowlen told the Denver Post. "We had a lot of smart, good football players who had a lot of good ideas."
GORE EXTENSION TALKS
Agent Drew Rosenhaus and the San Francisco 49ers continue to have talks over a possible contract extension for Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,695 yards last season and averaged 5.4 yards per carry.
"We've had ongoing discussion for months," Rosenhaus said.
Gore was a third-round pick in 2005 and became the starter in his second year. He has three years remaining on his original contract, which makes a new deal or extension somewhat difficult, 49ers coach Mike Nolan said.
However, the Niners also have approximately $35 million in salary cap room this year and may have plenty left over after free agency to extend or rework contracts for some of their current players.
"You can manipulate some money around to deal with the salary cap, so that's not a really big concern," Nolan said. "At the same time, we'd like to take care of Frank. You want to take care of your good players. But we also have him under contract for three more years. Frank has to understand that."
- Pat Bowlen