The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Roger Goodell satisfied with Redskins’ handling of Robert Griffin III injury

(Associated Press)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Saturday he’s satisfied that the Washington Redskins’ handling of Robert Griffin III in last weekend’s playoff game was based on “medical decisions.”

Despite showing signs of a knee injury, Griffin played deep into the game against Seattle. The rookie quarterback was eventually pulled from the game because of his injured right knee and had to undergo surgery on both his lateral collateral and medial collateral ligaments earlier this week.

“People can argue whether it was the right decision or the wrong decision,” Goodell said Saturday, speaking publicly about the injury for the first time, “but it was a medical decision and that’s what we want it to be.”

Goodell hosted a fan forum for about 200 Denver Broncos season ticket holders Saturday morning at Sports Authority Field and met with reporters afterward. Redskins’ Coach Mike Shanahan has faced criticism for keeping Griffin in the game too long last weekend, exposing him to serious injury. Goodell said the league office would continue to evaluate its medical protocols and procedures.

“Will we make further changes? Yeah, I would anticipate we will,” he said. “We’ll always look at that and try to see what else we can do to make sure that the proper medical attention is being given, that they make the best evaluation and it’s their determination to make.”

“Robert Griffin seems to be very comfortable with it,” the commissioner added. “As long as they’re medical decisions, that is our primary objective.”

Goodell also addressed the sub-par field conditions at FedEx Field last weekend, which was also the focus of plenty of attention and criticism this week.

“What we probably have to do a better job of is keeping the standard up,” he said. “So when we see a field that we think needs to be replaced or re-sodded, as an example, we got to get in there with the team or the community … and get that stadium to replace the field so we can make sure the fields are outstanding.”

Goodell said that the league office received no complaints about the field following the Redskins’ game seven days earlier against the Dallas Cowboys.

“We’re going to evaluate that. …Our staff is looking at that, trying to determine, should a field be required to be re-sodded, even between the numbers, the hash marks? Is that something we’d require to do, particularly in these kind of climates?” he said.

During the fan forum earlier, one member of the audience also asked Goodell about field conditions, and the commissioner noted that artificial turf has been a good options for some cold-weather markets, and teams and communities also need to monitor the effects that non-NFL events have on field surfaces.

With the Super Bowl headed to the New York area in 2014, Denver reporters asked whether the Mile High City might be a possible Super Bowl host down the road. Goodell noted that he likes the sport’s premier game being played “in the elements,” and noted that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has made a push in the past to bring the Super Bowl to the nation’s capital.

“You have to look at the infrastructure, it’s the stadium size, can the community have the significant number of hotel rooms –- I think we’re up to 25,000?” he said. “Washington has expressed an interest in the past. We’ve looked at that. So we’ll see what happens after next year. If the communities have an interest, we’ll take a look at it.”