Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 3/6/13

As part of his longstanding concern, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is constantly striving for ways to make the game safer for its participants.

But that doesn't mean his conscience is completely free and clear.

In a writeup for ESPN The Magazine, Don Van Natta Jr. spoke with several sources around Goodell, one of whom claims the commish is particularly scared of a NFL player dying on the field.

"He's terrified of it," says a Hall of Fame player who speaks regularly with Goodell. "It wouldn't just be a tragedy. It would be awfully bad for business."

Van Natta Jr. cites the one-time occurrence in 1971, when Lions receiver Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack during a game. As such, Goodell "told friends privately that he believes if the game's hard-knocks culture doesn't change, it could happen again."

Though he's faced intense scrutiny in his tenure, Goodell has the support of his bosses -- NFL team owners -- who believe protecting the league's players is at the top of his totem pole.

"Player safety is Roger's No. 1 priority," Giants owner John Mara said. "It's something, quite frankly, that he wants as part of his legacy as a commissioner."

"Roger is the best qualified person that I know in this country to do something about player safety," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

Many players don't feel the same. In fact, just the opposite. There are those who think the game is degenerating into a shell of itself, and others who are completely opposed to any further rule changes.

Despite all else, Goodell, for as long as he's commissioner, will do whatever he can to prevent another Hughes-like tragedy. It's been repeated ad nauseum, but the NFL is a business above all else. There's nothing worse for business than if one of its employees kicked the bucket while on the proverbial clock.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker