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Friday, June 29, 2007


From NFL Media.com

NFL Rookie Symposium
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – June 25, 2007

Re: How the Symposium has lasted this long and the concern about
players in their first year...

RG: The focus for us is how do we make these guys better men. What can we do
to help prepare them for the decisions they will have to make as NFL players?
It’s a big transition from college, so I think we’re providing some tools for them.
The big focus for us is how do we expand on this, how do we make it better? It’s
a great start but we want to make sure that we continue to promote these
messages and give the players the kind of resources and tools they need to
make good choices.

Re: On the rookies and if they asked questions of him...

RG: Yes. I thought they were great. There were a lot of questions. They were
good questions, direct questions. I think that’s terrific and I’m glad they felt
comfortable enough to ask them.

Re: If this will help the players in the long term. Is the goal to help them no
matter what kind of career they have?

RG: The whole focus is how do we make these men better men, and how do we
make sure that they understand that the skills they learn here are life skills;
things that will help them throughout their lives and well beyond their NFL career.

Re: How the message on player conduct is getting across...

RG: I think we’re being more clear with them of what we expect. There is a
higher standard of behavior being that they are football players. The vast majority
of our players do understand; only a select few of our players don’t. They get a
lot of focus, they get a lot of attention, and it has a negative impact on the players
in our league and the NFL in general. I think they have a better understanding of
what we’re going expect from them in the future.

Q: Why do they have a better understanding?

RG: Because we reinforce it at every opportunity. We feel very strongly here. The
clubs are doing it at the club level and I think what we’ve done with the personal
conduct policy came out just great. There are not many people who are unaware
of what our standards are.

Re: Why some players still don’t seem to grasp it...

RG: I’d be naïve to think that everyone will understand it. We’re going to have to
make it a priority going forward. Again, we’re making players more aware of our
standards of behavior. Secondly, we’re giving them more tools and resources to
make sure that they can make those decisions, and hopefully that will have a
great impact.

Re: What you discussed with the players...

RG: Several things. I just tell them a little bit about my own background, being in
the league for 26 years. I told them about what I think is important with respect
to supporting the NFL shield. I did discuss personal conduct. I did talk about our
responsibility to them, and about the resources we’re providing to them. I spoke
to them about how important it is making their families proud in everything they
do both on and off of the field.

Re: The reaction of the players while he was speaking...

RG: I thought they were outstanding. It was a little difficult in the room to survey
every conversation. You could tell the players were engaged. They asked very
good questions, very responsive questions to what I had said, and I think they
listened very intently.

Re: The process in evaluating a violation of the policy...

RG: First we get the facts, and then once we’ve done that we make an evaluation
of where it sits in our personal conduct policy and make a determination.

Re: Overall goal of the symposium and this class of rookies...

RG: That we are concerned about them as men. Not only how they become
great NFL players but how they become great men. How they conduct
themselves appropriately for the remainder of their lives, not just in the National
Football League.

Re: How did the players ask questions? Did they raise their hand, stand up,
grab a microphone?

RG: They did both, they had a microphone. They asked a lot of questions about
the services they have available to them, what we could do to help them, am I
available, what is my perspective and how I go about making decisions. They
were very good questions.

Re: Your perception of how the fans perceive personal conduct issues...Do
you believe personal conduct is a problem in the fans’ eyes?

RG: The reaction I’m getting from the fans is quite supportive. We are standing
up; we are making sure our players are held to a higher standard. They want
that. People have put an awful lot of time, energy, money, into the National
Football League, and I want them to feel good about what they’re doing.

Re: Whether the symposium always has the same focus...

RG: We adapt the symposium to whatever the issues are at the time. We
obviously have adapted the agenda here to some extent to make sure it’s
responsive to issues that they may be facing, that they’re comfortable making the
transition to pro football from college football.

Re: Congressional hearing on retired players...

RG: The focus on retired players is that we have an obligation and a
responsibility to retired players. I think we’ve done some very positive things for
retired players and we’re considering doing some additional things that I think are
quite responsive to the issues. I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to retired
players and listening to what the issues actually are. Both Gene and I will be
having a meeting with the retired players on July 24th to talk about some of the
ideas that we’ve been developing and hopefully we’ll be able to move this
forward. I think we’re being very responsive to our retired players and I
understand the interest in this. I hope were going to be seen in a very positive
light in terms of being responsive to this.

Re: The London Game and the loss of a home game for the Dolphins...

RG: I understand that and that’s why we’ve said all along that we’re going to
have a limited number of regular-season games overseas because we recognize
that it can be difficult for fans and they lose one of their eight regular-season
home games. It’s not going to happen on a frequent basis. Even if we did two a
year it wouldn’t happen frequently. On the other hand, any time a fan loses a
home game we understand it’s a negative. We’re glad it’s on television. It’s not
the same experience, but I think the club should be proud that their fans are
going to be able to see it on television and more importantly they’re expanding on
a global basis. Hopefully some good will come out of that. There’s not much I can
say other than that. The fact is they are losing a regular-season home game.

Re: Reaction to Pacman and Tank’s latest issues...

RG: We’re waiting to get the facts. They’re both under suspension right now so
we’ll look at the facts and take it under consideration. They understand, as part of
their suspension, that we’ll be evaluating every activity that is going on with them.
They understand that so we’ll take that under consideration.

Re: Hearing their names continually coming up in the news this

RG: I would rather them be making good choices. They know that and knew that
when I met with them, and they each pledged to try to make good choices going
forward. We’re trying to do everything we can to support them to make choices. If
they don’t, that’s the decision they make and it will affect their future.

Re: Reaction to hearing these names again...

RG: Disappointment, more than anything else. Either they aren’t getting the
message or they don’t have the ability or the desire. It’s disappointing.

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