A supplemental draft pick, Jeremy Jarmon has the shortest NFL tenure of any player at Redskin Park. He only has been practicing with the Washington Redskins since July.
But the rookie defensive end out of Kentucky showed a little gumption Tuesday, pulling Roger Goodell aside to ask what the NFL commissioner planned to do to protect defensive ends.
“Defensive end is a prized position,” Jarmon said after practice. “In my opinion, it’s just as prestigious as quarterback. Our job is to get to that guy. I asked [Goodell] what are some of the things that the NFL is going to do to protect me. Chop blocks, cut blocks, chip blocks - in my short time in the NFL, I’ve received all of those. I said that chop blocks are illegal and leg whips are illegal, but they’re not being called.”
An afternoon meeting with players union executive director DeMaurice Smith brought Goodell to the area (the NFLPA offices are in the District). After speaking Tuesday morning to a group of Redskins players, he watched practice before speaking briefly with reporters.
The collective bargaining negotiations between the league and players were the hot topic. The owners opted out of the last two years of the current agreement, which will expire after the 2010 season. Without a new agreement, the owners could lock out the players in 2011.
“Everybody in the NFL wants to play,” Goodell said. “The owners want to play. The players want to play. It’s our job to get a deal. A lockout is not a strategy or an objective. What we want to do is get an agreement that works. When we get an outcome, I don’t know. What we’re looking for is the right outcome.”
Goodell touched on several other topics:
• He said he’s pleased with Michael Vick’s readjustment to the NFL. Goodell said he talks to the Philadelphia quarterback “on a weekly basis, if not more,” and he praised the Eagles’ handling of the situation.
“A lot of those issues I focus on are off the field,” he said. “How is he doing in the transition? Does he have his family relocated? Does he have the right people around him helping him make decisions? Tony Dungy’s been incredibly helpful. Donovan McNabb has been helpful.”
• The NFL has been preparing for a possible swine flu outbreak this fall, both at its team facilities and stadiums.
• Goodell endorsed Twitter and other social media Web sites a day after spelling out new policies for the league, its players and officials.
“We have great content,” he said. “It’s a great thing for us to get feedback from our fans and communicate with them. Technology will continue to change. You can’t fight it. You have to embrace it and figure out a way to deal with it.”
• Goodell noted that local television blackouts could be more widespread this year. Jacksonville, for example, saw its season-ticket base drop from 42,000 to about 25,000.
“It’s all part of the challenges that we’re seeing in the economy and what our clubs are going through,” he said.
Goodell didn’t forget about Jarmon’s request. The rookie sat quietly in a room full of veteran players, “dying to ask” his question. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity when he saw Goodell walking alone to the Redskins’ practice field.
“That’s one of the great things about coming to camp,” Goodell said. “You get to hear from the players directly about things on their minds and things we need to focus on. I mentioned to [Jarmon] that we had players who raised this issue with the competition committee, and we are working on it.”
Said Jarmon: “I’ll be interested to see what happens.”
Rogers, Fletcher out
Four starters won’t play in the preseason finale Thursday at Jacksonville: cornerback Carlos Rogers (calf), middle linebacker London Fletcher (foot), running back Clinton Portis (ribs) and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (stomach).
Coach Jim Zorn said Fletcher is going to have “a little bit of medicine put in his [left] foot, no emergency or anything like that.” Fletcher played the last month of 2008 with a sprain, a deep bone bruise and a chip fracture in the foot.
Portis, who turned 28 on Tuesday, and Fletcher would play if it were the regular season. Rogers said he could, too. Haynesworth, who missed the past three days with a stomach bug, won’t travel.
Decisions haven’t been made on right guard Randy Thomas, who returned Tuesday from an ailing calf; safety Kareem Moore, who pulled a hamstring against New England; and lineman Jeremy Bridges, who returned Tuesday after missing Monday for personal reasons.