By The Associated Press, Associated Press
Chad Ochocinco wants Roger Goodell to know that he has the NFL commissioner's back.
The outspoken New England Patriots wide receiver posted a letter of support for Goodell on Friday as the issue of football safety has increased in the wake of Junior Seau's suicide.
Ochocinco begins with, "Dear Dad," in the note on his site, OCNNReport.com, and tells Goodell he wanted to reach out to him because it has been "the worst week ever" with "players dying, players suing and on top of that my peers are just going off on you in the media."
Goodell and the NFL have been criticized for their handling of concussions, despite a recent focus on head injuries. Thousands of former players have also sued the league and claimed it didn't properly protect its players from concussions.
The issue of player safety has again become a hot topic after Seau was found last week with a gunshot to the chest at his home in Oceanside, Calif.
Ochocinco, who also tweeted a link to the open letter, said that because "no one is showing any support, I figured I would be the first."
He said he and Goodell have a "father-son relationship" — undoubtedly a result of the numerous times Ochocinco has spent talking to the commissioner for illegal touchdown celebrations throughout his playing career.
Ochocinco suggested to Goodell that the NFL might be hurting itself by the way it markets the game.
"Y'all do a darn near perfect job at portraying this game as one played by heroes," Ochocinco wrote. "But let's be real dad. This is a nasty, dirty and violent game with consequences. Sign up or go get a regular job. Watch it or turn off the TV and go fishing with your kids. It is really that simple.
"I know there are probably legal and financial implications that prevent this blunt depiction, but am not sure if you have a choice. If you don't say it now, the mounting evidence being revealed publicly will say it for you very soon."
Again showing his support, he adds: "I love you and if anyone can lead us out of this mess, it will be you."
Ochocinco closes by telling Goodell he plans to have lots of end-zone celebrations after catching a career-low 15 passes for the Patriots last season.
"Can my fine money go to supporting ex-players suffering?" Ochocinco asked. "Sincerely, Chad."
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