DETROIT — Commissioner Roger Goodell is anxious for an agreement to allow human growth hormone testing in the NFL.
Goodell spoke with reporters after hosting a fan forum at Ford Field before Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. The latest collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and union includes a provision to begin testing players for HGH — but it’s contingent on the union agreeing to the testing methods.
“We will hopefully get a resolution to that sooner rather than later. I’m disappointed we don’t have it in place right now,” Goodell said. “There has to be a credible testing program for HGH. It is in the best interests of the players, from their safety standpoint and their health standpoint, but also for credibility and the integrity of the league.”
The NFL Players Association has asked for more scientific data to prove the most popular test is reliable. In an email obtained Friday by The Associated Press, an NFL lobbyist asks congressional staffers to urge their bosses to sign a letter by two House Republicans urging the NFL and NFL Players Association to begin testing this season.
Goodell also discussed the Vikings and their hope for a new stadium. Their Metrodome lease is due to expire at the end of the season.
“We’re working with all the officials in support of getting something done there,” Goodell said. “We’ve been concerned about it for some time. Identifying those solutions are not easy. It takes time. They’re complex projects, and they’re expensive projects, and they require a public-private partnership.”
Surprisingly, Goodell wasn’t asked during the fan forum about suspended Detroit star Ndamukong Suh. The defensive tackle finished his two-game ban by sitting out Sunday’s game. He was disciplined for roughing up a Green Bay lineman in a Thanksgiving game.
Goodell talked a bit about Suh with the media afterward.
“I have great respect for Ndamukong. I think he’s a heck of a young man. I also think he’s a great football player,” Goodell said. “I spoke to him about 10 days ago, and I think he wants to do what’s right for the game and he wants to do right for his teammates and what’s right for him.”
Goodell’s office might have another big review on its hands next week after Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy on Thursday night. Goodell didn’t comment much when asked about Harrison.
“Our staff is going to be looking at that play along with every other play that happens this weekend, and they’ll make their decisions,” Goodell said.