Former NFL head coach TONY DUNGY will lead a new NFL Player Advisory Forum as Special Advisor to COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL, the NFL announced today. The program will involve a regular series of meetings in various cities with NFL players, including Pro Bowl veterans such as BRIAN DAWKINS of the Denver Broncos, RAY LEWIS of the Baltimore Ravens, and KURT WARNER of the Arizona Cardinals.
"Players continue to be an invaluable resource in providing direction and insight into a wide range of programs and policies," said Commissioner Goodell. "Tony's experience and expertise in working with players make him an ideal leader of the Player Advisory Forum and we appreciate his willingness to take on this important role."
The purpose of the Player Advisory Forum is to provide input to the commissioner's office on policies, programs, and issues that affect the lives of players on and off the field, including player health and safety, personal conduct, game rules and procedures, career transition, and player development.
Dungy will organize the meetings, identify the player attendees, and develop a list of topics for discussion. Commissioner Goodell will attend the meetings and the NFL Players Association has been invited to send a representative. Dungy also will serve as a resource to the NFL Player Development staff and the team Player Development Directors.
"Input from the players to the commissioner's office and vice versa is so important in helping our league and our players be the best they can be, on and off the field," Dungy said. "The commissioner asked me if I would lead this initiative and to me it is exciting to be in a position to help our players."
Dawkins, Lewis, and Warner said they are looking forward to being part of the initiative.
"It's an honor and privilege to work with Coach Dungy," Dawkins said. "This will be a great new way for players working with Coach Dungy to be part of the process of improving the league for everybody."
Added Lewis, "This is extremely important and Tony's involvement is a big factor for me because he stands for everything that is right about the NFL. This is an area where we need unity because it's about players and the league helping each other. I truly believe we can accomplish things that will carry on way beyond us."
Warner, the 2008 Walter Payton Award winner as the NFL Man of the Year, said, "For the NFL to remain as successful as it is today, this type of open communication between the players and commissioner's office is crucial. To have someone as respected and accomplished as Coach Dungy leading the effort is tremendous. His integrity and credibility are unmatched and everyone involved will be better off because of his involvement."
The Player Advisory Forum will be similar to the series of meetings Commissioner Goodell conducted around the country last year with retired players. The new program for current players is an evolution of the NFL Player Advisory Council, which was created by Commissioner Goodell with the NFL Players Association in 2006.
The Player Advisory Council provided ideas and direction for the development of the Personal Conduct Policy, the team captains program, the change in venue of the Pro Bowl this season to South Florida prior to the Super Bowl, and contributed direct input on other policy matters, including safety-related rules changes.