The way I envision it, the greatest concern for Commissioner Roger Goodell as he arrived at the NFL offices in Manhattan on Tuesday was to make sure everything was set for later in the week when the helicopter would take the family to the yacht to enjoy Memorial Day weekend on Long Island Sound.
Or maybe Rog and the family prefer Nantucket and Cape Cod.
Anyway, I would’ve loved to have been hiding behind the Fendi Casa sofa in the office corner when one of Il Duce Rog’s lackeys came in to report that Doug Whaley, Buffalo’s general manager, had explained receiver Sammy Watkins’ injury history in a radio interview.
And Whaley had done so by saying the following:
“It’s the game of football. And injuries are part of it, and it’s a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play …’’
Goodell had to spit out his $12 licorice latte on his William Fioravanti suit when hearing that one. This came one day after a Congressional report stating the NFL had tried to improperly intervene into a federal research study into football and brain disease.
The panelists on cable TV’s NFL shows were much more upset at Whaley’s off-handed comment than the NFL’s manipulation of brain research. The common thread: “Whaley will be hearing from the league office.”
On Wednesday, Whaley released a statement that was pure Rog-speak. It read in part:
“Clearly, I used a poor choice of words yesterday. As a former player who has the utmost respect and love for the game, the point that I was trying to make is that football is a physical game and injuries are part of it …
“The game has more protection for players now than ever, thanks largely to the safety advancements and numerous changes made by our league and promoted to all levels of football.’’
I’m guessing that Il Duce Rog checked Whaley’s act of contrition beforehand, nodded approval, then adjusted his Stefano Ricci tie and reminded a lackey to have the bird waiting on the helipad before 11.
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
Making transition from Division I to the MIAC:
• St. John’s and St. Thomas could have D-I transfers at quarterback: SJU, Jackson Erdmann (Penn State), and UST, Jacques Perra (Minnesota).
• Jim Zebrowski, fired as Gophers quarterbacks coach by Tracy Claeys, will run the offense for new Hamline coach Chip Taylor.
• Mike Eaves, fired at Wisconsin, will coach hockey at St. Olaf. This comes as the Oles seemed to be de-emphasizing athletics.
Read Patrick Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.