NEW ORLEANS (KDKA/AP) – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on Tuesday from the league meetings in New Orleans about the current state of the NFL lockout.
Goodell said there has been no talks among the owners to use replacement players if there is no CBA in time for next season.
“We have not had any discussions or consideration of replacement players,” Goodell said at a news conference closing the annual owners meetings. “It hasn’t been discussed, it hasn’t been considered, and it’s not in our plans.”
Goodell mentioned the owners are considering withdrawing the last contract offer made to the NFLPA if they do not resume talks for a new collective bargaining agreement.
At the press conference, Goodell said the NFL is investigating five teams for violating offseason rules prohibiting contact with players.
NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash said the violations aren’t related to the league’s lockout of the players, which began March 12, hours after negotiations with the players broke off, and the union dissolved.
Even during normal offseasons, from the end of one season until around March 15, NFL rules bar teams from holding organized workouts, practice or meetings, and don’t allow position coaches to supervise players.
“It’s a ‘go home and relax’ period,” Pash said.
Since the lockout began, no contact between the league’s 32 clubs and players has been allowed. Players don’t get paid and can’t negotiate new contracts; they aren’t allowed to use team facilities.
Since the day talks broke off and the players decertified the union, Goodell hasn’t spoken with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
Six days after that proposal was made, Goodell outlined some of the specifics in an e-mail sent to all active players.
Asked Tuesday why he sent that letter, Goodell said, “What the ownership wanted to make sure is that the players knew what their leadership had walked away from in the mediation process. So we sent that directly to the players. As you know, they’re claiming not to be a union, but we think it was important to send that so the players understood what the owners had offered.”
Goodell said owners want to have a complete 2011 season, and repeated his hope that negotiations will resume – perhaps before the draft begins April 28.