NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Buffalo Bills Training Camp – July 28, 2008

BUFFALO BILLS OWNER RALPH WILSON: I had introduced the next gentleman a little while ago to the team, he’s your boss, my boss, everybody. The boss of everybody. The commissioner of the NFL has come in here. It’s an honor and a privilege for you to say hello to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL: Thank you, Ralph. Good morning. It’s certainly an honor to be here. As you know, I’m from western New York so it’s great to be home again and get a chance to attend my first training camp in the 2008 season. I did have a chance, as Ralph said, to speak with the team as well as Senator Schumer and it’s exciting to have football back and we’re certainly excited about being here to be a part of it.

Q: On status of small market teams and conversation with the Senator:

RG: The nature of the conversation was to find out how the Bills are doing and fortunately that’s good news. The effort here to regionalize the team further into southern Ontario and into Toronto has been a very big success for the team and I think that’s something we’re all proud of, the fact that we can now make the team stronger here in western New York. That’s good for the team and it’s good for the fans.

On Toronto ticket status:

The game hasn’t been played yet so I think at this stage right now this is the way that they’re marketing the games — the whole series and the individual games — and I’m confident that the game’s going to be well received there.

On Brett Favre and his involvement:

I was asked to get involved. We had a charge as it relates to tampering, which is a very important rule from our standpoint. And then I was asked to be involved with some various discussions between the parties, which is an issue that is important for the Green Bay Packers. They have rights here. It’s important for Brett Favre. He has rights also. And I’m glad to see that they’re all productive discussions and they’re talking directly to one another. They’re both important to the league going forward and hopefully they’ll reach a proper resolution.

On having any input in Brett’s decision to hold off for a couple of days:

I didn’t, and from my standpoint these are decisions that the team and Brett are going to have to make individually based on what their desires are. The most important thing is that they’re communicating properly and they both understand what’s important to one another.

On stance of tampering investigation:

We’re in the middle of the investigation. Hopefully we can finish it up quickly, but as soon as we get to a conclusion we’ll announce it.

On the concerns of the allegation:

We take every tampering charge seriously. As you know, we did discipline a club earlier this year for a violation of the tampering policy. It’s been an important policy so we will enforce it.

On importance of Brett Favre if he decides to come back:

Brett Favre’s a great player, a great competitor, and I think it’s been a great reflection on the Packers and the NFL. So if Brett Favre wants to return and play, I think that would be a great thing for the fans and for the league.

On any indication that Favre has made a commitment to coming back:

I’ll let Brett Favre speak for himself. I think Brett is very capable of doing that. He doesn’t need a spokesman.

On Marshawn Lynch and his incident being a league issue:

I spoke to Marshawn this morning. I met with Marshawn and he understands his responsibilities as an NFL player. I think the facts are clear on the case at this point in time and I don’t plan on any discipline.

On Marshawn’s response:

He understands the responsibility. He understands what it means to be an NFL player and how he has to represent himself, his teammates, and the Buffalo Bills, and he knows how important that is.

On talks with the Senator and Mr. Wilson on future with the Bills:

We’re talking about the future of the Bills and what we can continue to do to make sure that the Bills continue to be successful here in Western New York. And we did discuss that. We’ve talked about the initial steps here as far as regionalizing to southern Ontario and the Toronto series. And that has been a very positive step for the Bills in western New York.

On decision for no punishment for Lynch:

Because it was reduced to a traffic violation and I think when you look at the facts and understand exactly what happened after some of the initial reports, I think that it’s not a violation of our personal conduct policy. On the other hand, Marshawn understands that these things are important to the league and that he will avoid those types of situations in the future.

On NFL personal conduct policy:

I think the players are getting enough of a reminder on this issue. I speak about it frequently. We send documentation to the players. I think they understand the responsibility. And I think that of our players in general, I’m very proud of what they do. We have great representatives in our community. In reality, you have a few players that do things that are inconsistent with those policies. Unfortunately, they get a lot of attention but that’s the reality of our world.

On advice to Lynch:

I think you have to balance that with what his legal rights are and what was being done. He was cooperative. The district attorney has indicated that, so I think you have to balance your legal rights and what you have to do to protect yourself individually. And I want our players to make sure that they do that properly, and they have good counsel and that’s important to have.

On this being his first training camp visit:

I do a series of training camp visits every year; I’ll be doing roughly eight to 10 this season. And I haven’t been here to Rochester and I wanted to be here, and the Senator was available so it was a good opportunity for us all to be here.

On attending Toronto game:

I don’t know yet. Not the preseason game. I know have a conflict on that.

On Toronto series:

I think it’s been very successful in making the Bills stronger in western New York, which is our effort here to make sure the Bills stay here successfully in western New York by expanding the region in which they draw fans. It’s bringing more people down from Toronto. They’re spending more money in western New York. It’s good for western New York; it’s good for the Bills; and so far it’s been a great success.

On Kemp and Cuomo’s interests to buy:

I’m aware they have a special fund that’s created for investments in to NFL and other sports teams. We have a very strong policy that we want a principal owner that speaks for the team, speaks to the community but also is a representative on the league level. They’re aware of those policies if they want to own an NFL team, that those opportunities exist, but it’s very important for us to have a principal owner like Mr. Wilson that will not only represent the team and the community, but also participate in league level matters.

On if he’s heard from Kemp or Cuomo:

I’ve talked to them about their concept many times. We have others that have had very similar concepts and that were interested in ownership throughout the league.