NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says this weekend’s bargaining session with the players’ union was “beneficial.”
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks.
Goodell said “a number of” individual players and owners participated in a two-hour meeting Saturday, the first formal bargaining session since November. The labor deal expires in March.
“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” he said.
In an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said it was a “good meeting” but said “I don’t think anyone went into the meeting with the idea that we were going to build Rome in one day.”
Smith said the sides have been talking continually and it’s probably better that those talks aren’t publicized.
Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players. He added: “We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue” and spoke of “making sure we have the best drug program in sports.”
Both Goodell and Smith said that expanding the NFL season to 18 games wouldn’t be a deal breaker either way. But Smith said that the NFL must address post-career health care if the league does add two games each season. Currently, Smith said, only players who play three seasons in the NFL are eligible for post-career health care and adding two games to a season will likely shorten NFL careers.