Roger Goodell On James Harrison: Some Players May Not Be Able To Adapt To New Rules

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sat down last week with James Brown from CBS Sports to discuss the current state of the league, the danger of concussions, HGH testing and of course Tim Tebow. He was also asked about Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in light of their recent suspensions. Below is the video of the interview and the transcript of the questions asked about Harrison, along with the answers from Goodell.

JB: James Harrison, now suspended, repeat if you will, offender. Now I hope that is not too strong of title or label to put on it. Your thoughts on that and is he going to get it, especially with respect to what his coach said, “Hey, he\’s got to abide by the rules.”

RG: Well I think that is the bottom line JB, James Harrison is a great football player, but our rules apply to all 2000 players, all 32 teams and players conform to those rules. Those rules are established and they are enforced and I think he has the ability to adapt to the game and he has shown he is a tremendous athlete and other players have also. And that\’s the history, this is not new in our game. We\’ve always had changes in our rules and we\’ve always identified techniques that need to be removed from the game because we feel they are unsafe for player safety. That has been changed and players have adapted.

JB: You\’ve got your finger ion the pulse better than me, Roger, I\’m on the periphery looking in, you continue to hear so many players saying it is awfully difficult to change our way of play from the defensive side of the ball, and the amount of incidental contact that may be. Even mindful of those kinds of retorts if you will, you\’re still firmly convinced they can change their style of play.

RG: Well again, individuals are going to have to adapt as they can, certain players have certain abilities on the field and some may not be able to adapt, but the fact is, the rules apply to all 32 teams and every player and we are not going to adapt those rules to individuals.

JB: He\’s been in to see you before, do expect to see him again? James Harrison?

RG: He was in last fall. he had his hearing early this week with Ted Cottrell, that was done independently, and I believe that they are issuing a decision this morning.