NFL Notebook

Steelers' Rooney Wants New Contract for Goodell, Study on Haslett's Contract

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NFL owners should begin working on a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney said yesterday.

Goodell signed a five-year contract when he was elected by the owners in August 2006 to succeed Paul Tagliabue. The owners seem pleased with his performance.

Rooney said a contract extension is merited but has not been officially discussed among the owners yet.

"There has not been talk about that yet," Rooney said in a telephone interview. "But I've thought about it, and I think it's time to start talking about it. I think he's done a wonderful job."

Rooney also said the league and its workplace diversity committee, of which Rooney is the chairman, must study contract clauses like the one reportedly given to St. Louis Rams Coach Jim Haslett.

Haslett was promoted from defensive coordinator to replace the fired Scott Linehan after the Rams lost their first four games of the season. According to several reports, Haslett's contract contains a clause that he will retain the job next season if the Rams win six games under him, or receive a sizable payment if he is passed over under those circumstances. The Rams, who are 2-0 since his promotion, have not publicly verified the arrangement.

Rooney said the clause would not technically violate the league rule requiring each team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate. But Rooney said the issue needs further examination.

"I think they should be looked at," Rooney said. "There's no violation because there's no fast rule. When you start putting things in there like if a coach wins six games he keeps the job, that starts skirting the rule, to me. If you make a [coaching] change during the season, it makes sense that you have to look within your organization. But then when you get to the end of the season, I think there should be an open search."

An NFL source said league officials plan to discuss the issue with the Rams, and the team would be expected to interview at least one minority candidate after the season. A Rams official said the club will comply with NFL hiring policies.

ยท BROWNS: Cleveland suspended tight end Kellen Winslow for one game without pay for conduct detrimental to the team.

Winslow criticized the organization in postgame comments Sunday, faulting General Manager Phil Savage for failing to contact him when Winslow was hospitalized for three nights recently because of a staph infection. Winslow said the team, not him, wanted to keep details of his condition private, and the club needs to do more about a series of staph infections suffered by players.

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