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Goodell backs Chargers, Raiders

AP

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pledged Friday “to do everything possible” to help teams in Oakland and San Diego work to get new stadiums in their current markets.

“The league supports both of these teams, but we are working very hard with not only the teams but the communities to try to find a solution that works for everybody,” Goodell said at his annual Super Bowl week news conference. “This has to work for the communities, and it has to work for the teams long-term.”

The Rams have moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis starting with the 2016 season. The Chargers will play in San Diego in 2016, but chairman Dean Spanos has an option to join the Rams at a new stadium being built in Inglewood if the city and team can’t work out a deal.

The Raiders also wanted to move to Los Angeles, but owner Mark Davis may look at other cities if the franchise can’t work out a stadium deal with Oakland.

“I think it’s great that Dean Spanos and his family said, ‘We want to make this work in San Diego,’ ” Goodell said. “They have an incredibly attractive option in Los Angeles but they decided, ‘We’re going to go and try to make this work in San Diego,’ and we will do everything we can to support that. The same’s true for Mark Davis. Mark Davis has a lot of options. The league supports both of these teams, but we are working very hard with not only the teams but the communities to try to find a solution that works for everybody. This has to work for the communities and this has to work for the teams long-term.”

Goodell also confirmed the Raiders and Texans will play a Monday night game on Nov. 21 in Mexico City, the first regular-season game in Mexico since 2005.

Goodell said the league did not plan any changes to its policy of testing players for marijuana, despite any state legalization efforts. Goodell said the league policy was not affected by state laws.

The NFL has “made great progress” in the area of concussions by way of rule changes and improving equipment, Goodell said.

“There will be a new helmet coming out this season,” Goodell said. “. . . Which I think is going to be a very positive step in trying to get better protection.”

There also will be a new technology beneath artificial turf, “which will take out the impact. We have a large number of concussions that occur from just the head on the turf.”

Goodell has spoken to the competition committee, many members of the league and players that he believes “the league should pursue a policy where if there are two personal fouls in a game there’s an automatic ejection of the player.”

“I believe that’s consistent with what we believe are the safety issues but I also believe it’s consistent with what we believe are the standards of sportsmanship,” Goodell said.

That discussion largely stemmed from New York Giants star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who was penalized three times for unnecessary roughness in a December game against eventual NFC champion Carolina, including a late helmet-to-helmet hit against a defenseless player. He was suspended for a game, appealed and lost.

Among other topics addressed by Goodell during his 45-minute session:

■ He would not say whether an NFL court victory on next month’s appeal in the case involving Tom Brady’s role in “Deflategate” would result in a reinstatement of the New England Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension. “I am not going to speculate on what we’re going to do,” Goodell said.

■ He said there was a 40 percent reduction in players arrests during the 2015 calendar year.

■ The league, which will have three games in London next season, is “considering playing more games in the U.K.” and a franchise there could be “a realistic possibility” if the sport’s popularity continues to grow in that country.