Though confident of reaching a new labor agreement before the 2010 season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell criticized a union report that said the league was highly profitable and therefore the current revenue-sharing system still works.
"There's a lot of fiction in that report," Goodell said at his annual "State of the NFL" news conference yesterday in Tampa, Fla.
On Thursday, a union-commissioned study showed the average value of franchises has increased from $288 million to $1.04 billion during the past decade, and that teams averaged a $24.7 million profit in the past year - even as the economy took a turn for the worse.
Goodell disputed those figures and defended the owners' decision to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement, which assures players about 60 percent of the applicable revenues. If a new deal is not reached after the 2009 season, the next year would be played without a salary cap. The union says if the cap disappears, it won't accept one later.
In 2011, the league could face its first labor stoppage since 1987.
On other topics, Goodell:
* Indicated the competition committee will look at tweaking overtime, perhaps moving up the kickoff to serve as something of an equalizer when a team wins the coin toss.
* Said the game got safer in the second half of the season after a series of fines for illegal hits caught players' attention.
* Noted that the league has shared research data and knowledge on treating concussions with the Department of Defense.
* Said he's hopeful of staging a regular-season game in Mexico in 2010 as part of the league's initiative to play games that count outside the United States.
Vick: : Michael Vick's lawyer told a federal bankruptcy judge that the imprisoned NFL star could be transferred to a halfway house in Virginia any day.
The judge presiding over Vick's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in Newport News, Va., asked about the transfer during a hearing at which he approved procedures to sell some of the quarterback's property.
"He's in the process of being released to the halfway house," attorney Paul Campsen told Judge Frank Santoro. "We expect it to occur any day."
But the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has not given Vick's attorneys a specific date for the move, which Campsen said could occur with only "a day or so" of notice.
Vick is serving 23 months at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan., for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. He is scheduled for release July 20 but could serve the last few months of his term at a halfway house in Newport News, his hometown.
Union: : Troy Vincent remains a candidate to become the executive director of the NFL Players Association despite a Virginia congressman's revelation that Vincent was behind a congressional letter that raised questions about the union's search process.
Vincent has been invited to the next round of interviews involving the five remaining candidates, the Associated Press learned. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the person said Vincent will interview with the NFLPA executive committee in two weeks.
Earlier yesterday, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran said he learned the former NFLPA president prompted a letter sent by four congressmen to Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao this month. In the letter, the congressmen outlined their desire to ensure the integrity of the union's process to select a successor to Gene Upshaw, who died in August.
49ers: : Jimmy Raye agreed to terms with San Francisco to become the club's seventh offensive coordinator in seven seasons.
Raye, 62, has been an offensive coordinator for six other franchises, including Oakland in 2004 and 2005. He spent the past three seasons as the Jets' running backs coach.
Roethlisberger was hit in the back during the AFC championship game and spent a lot of time stretching his torso during a practice this week.
Rams: : St. Louis hired Kevin Demoff as executive vice president of football operations and chief operating officer.
Demoff worked as a senior assistant to the general manager at Tampa Bay the past three seasons.
Eagles: : Philadelphia promoted special teams coordinator Rory Segrest to defensive line coach and brought back former quarterback Doug Pederson as its offensive quality coach.
The Eagles also named Ted Daisher as special teams coordinator and James Urban as quarterbacks coach.