NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he doesn’t have a problem with the way the Washington Redskins medical staff handled Robert Griffin III’s knee injury.
Nevertheless, he’s anticipating changes in the way injuries not affecting the head are evaluated on the sideline.
Goodell was in Denver for Saturday’s Ravens-Broncos playoff game.
Griffin had reconstructive ACL surgery Wednesday after reinjuring his right knee in last Sunday’s playoff loss to Seattle. He also strained a ligament in the knee last month against Baltimore.
That raised questions whether Redskins coach Mike Shanahan should have left Griffin in either game after it was clear the quarterback was hurt.
Goodell said it was a “medical decision” and noted Griffin had no problem with it, either.
“Now, people can argue whether it was the wrong decision, but it was a medical decision and that’s what we want it to be,” Goodell said.
“Will we make further changes? Yeah, I would anticipate we will. We’ll always look at that and try to see what else we can do to make sure the proper medical attention is being given, that they make the best medical evaluation and it’s their determination to make.”
Asked if independent doctors were needed on the sideline, not those chosen by the team, Goodell insisted the physicians were impartial.
“When you say independent, all these doctors work for other institutions,” he said. “And they’re well-respected and the medical care in the NFL is outstanding. And if they have a concussion, they have to see an independent neurologist before they’re cleared to play.”
He noted that Andrews is a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon, “and I think he made a judgment and the team made a judgment, and Robert Griffin seems to be comfortable with it, too. I think as long as they are medical decisions, that is our primary objective.”
Goodell said the league is looking into the poor playing conditions at FedEx Field last week, when not only was RG3 hurt, but the Seahawks lost their best pass rusher, Chris Clemons, to a torn ACL in his left knee.
“We’re going to evaluate that,” Goodell said. “Interestingly enough, we had no complaints of the field in the Dallas game [the week before]. And so what we have to do is think through that a little bit and say what happened between there, and our staff is looking at that to try to determine should a field be required to be re-sodded, even between the hash marks.”
In a meeting with reporters following a fan forum at Sports Authority Field, Goodell also addressed the recent findings that Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease often linked with repeated blows to the head when he shot himself in the chest last year.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health said Thursday the former NFL star’s abnormalities are consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Goodell said the findings underscore the need for additional research into CTE.