NEW YORK NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took issue with the notion that the league's $765 million settlement with former players is a paltry sum compared to the sport's revenues.
"This is a significant amount of money," he said Wednesday. "The plaintiffs also agreed it was an appropriate amount. The mediator felt it was an appropriate amount."
Goodell made his first public comments since the settlement to the lawsuits was announced last week. More than 4,500 former players, some of them suffering from Alzheimer's disease or depression, accused the NFL of concealing the long-term dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field.
"We were able to find common ground to be able to get relief to the players and their families now rather than spending years litigating," Goodell said at an event promoting February's Super Bowl.
The settlement was announced last Thursday after two months of court-ordered mediation and is subject to approval by a federal judge. It does not include an admission from the NFL that it hid information from players about head injuries.
Some former players questioned the size of the settlement, considering it stretches over 20 years and will be divided among thousands of people and considering the NFL takes in more than $9 billion a year, a figure that will rise when new TV contracts start in 2014.
Goodell noted those billions are revenue, not profit.
Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will start Monday against Philadelphia after offseason knee surgery, said from now on he'll slide to avoid hits when scrambling.
"I mean, you guys have been talking to me about it for eight months," he said. I think it's ingrained in my head now."
Griffin said he had no worries about his knee but declined to elaborate on "concerns" discussed by Dr. James Andrews, coach Mike Shanahan and himself.
"Bottom line," Griffin said, "is I'm ready to go."
Jets Coach Rex Ryan finally confirmed that rookie Geno Smith will start at quarterback Sunday against Tampa Bay.
The move had been expected since Mark Sanchez injured his right shoulder Aug. 24.
But Ryan wouldn't commit to Smith as the long-term starter, an approach echoed by owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik.
"We'll always put the best player we can on the field on Sunday, and that will continue," Johnson said. "The competition's ongoing."
Bills Coach Doug Marrone announced that rookie EJ Manuel will start at quarterback Sunday against New England.
Manuel returned to practice Sunday after injuring his left knee Aug. 16 and having what the team called a "minor procedure" on Aug. 18.
"He's 110 percent. He looks good out there," Marrone said. "And that's what we're going to go with."
Rams St. Louis waived linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar rather than wait for its second-leading tackler last season to serve a four-game suspension to open the season.
Coach Jeff Fisher said the Rams could re-sign Dunbar but added it's in the "best interest of the organization" to move on.
Union The National Football League Players Association has set up a system to provide safe rides for its members.
The agreement with Uber Technologies allows players to use smartphone technology to connect to reliable drivers. Beginning this month, players will be able to summon a ride in any of Uber's international locations, including nearly 20 NFL cities and Pro Bowl host Honolulu. Once a ride is requested via Uber's smartphone app, a car will arrive within minutes.