As pro football's signature offseason event looms with the three-day NFL draft kicking off on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York, these are hardly typical times.
The league's lockout of players is in its seventh week. With mediation sessions last week in Minnesota failing to produce a new collective bargaining agreement or a settlement of the players antitrust action, Brady et al vs. NFL, the prospects for a full 2011 season are threatened.
Meanwhile, the sides await a ruling from Judge Susan Richard Nelson that could come as early as Monday regarding the players' request to lift the lockout — which is expected to trigger more legal action.
Against that backdrop, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell discussed a wide range of issues with USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell.