NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and four players whose suspensions in connection with the bounty investigation were recently lifted by an appeals panel have agreed to new meetings on the matter.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday no specific dates have been set for the meetings. An attorney for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said his client hoped to meet with the commissioner by early next week. The NFL Players Association, which is representing Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, did not immediately comment.
Goodell is reconsidering whether to hand down revised suspensions for the four players who had been punished in an alleged pay-for-pain pool offering cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.
MODELL MOURNED: Thousands of family and friends turned out Tuesday for the funeral of former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell, including current and former players, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
An important figure in the development of the league, Modell also was one of the NFL’s most polarizing owners. Cleveland fans never forgave him from moving his club to Baltimore for financial reasons after the 1995 season, but Ravens fans were fond of him and Modell also was remembered as a loving family man on Tuesday.
Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Haloti Ngata and Torrey Smith were among current Ravens players who attended the service at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
“He contributed so much to the NFL,” Goodell said. “He was obviously a close adviser to (former NFL commissioner) Pete Rozelle. He was a big part of NFL history. He played a big role in the NFL and the NFL is going to miss him.”
RAIDERS: Big-play receiver and former Clemson standout Jacoby Ford will undergo surgery on his injured left foot and miss significant time and Oakland must find a contingency at long snapper after a concussion to Pro Bowler Jon Condo played a major role in the team’s 22-14 loss to San Diego on Monday.
Backup long snapper Travis Goethel rolled two snaps back to punter Shane Lechler, who couldn’t get a kick off on either try. Lechler also had a punt blocked after lining up closer to the line of scrimmage than usual. The three miscues led to three field goals for San Diego and left Allen lamenting that he didn’t give Goethel more work in practice at long snapping.
Goethel hadn’t snapped in a game since high school and got only limited work before practices before being thrown into a game on national television.
“That falls on me,” Allen said. “I’ve got to do a better job of making sure we’re prepared for all those different situations. We practiced Travis snapping the ball but we could have probably done a better job of putting him in more live-type situations and giving him the opportunity to do it, kind of representing what he would do in a regular game.”
Condo will have to be cleared medically before he can return for practice this week and Allen said the team will have a contingency plan in place if he can’t play Sunday at Miami.
The Raiders also will have to come up with a plan going forward without Ford, who decided to have the operation after consulting with a specialist in North Carolina when the injury did not heal as quickly as hoped.
“It will be a significant amount of time,” Allen said. “I don’t know exactly what that number would be.”
Ford hurt his foot on Aug. 17 in an exhibition game against Arizona. He missed six games with the same injury last season and now is dealing with the same problem again.
“It’s really basically the same injury that he had last year,” Allen said. “When he re-injured it this season there was nothing new structurally different from where it was last year. After visiting with the foot specialist in Carolina, everybody thought that given a little bit of time he could come back from it. After giving it some time and re-evaluating, everybody, the medical people, felt like that surgery was probably the best thing for him.”
The Raiders could place Ford on a new short-term injured reserve list, which would sideline him for at least six weeks and open up a roster spot for another player.
Ford has 44 catches for 749 yards and three touchdowns in 24 games over two seasons. He has also scored two touchdowns rushing and returned four kicks for TDs in his career.