Titans owner promises NFL will play in 2011

Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams is predicting the NFL will play

the 2011 season, even if it takes a few months to work out a new

labor deal.

In fact, he guarantees it.

”It’s going to be a few months here, but we’ll be playing this

year,” Adams said Monday night. ”I guarantee we’ll be

playing.”

Adams spoke to reporters Monday night before being honored with

a lifetime humanitarian award by the T.J. Martell Foundation with

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on hand to help present him the

award. The 88-year-old owner used a walker on the red carpet but

moved around well.

Asked what he would say to fans who want football and are sick

of all the talking, Adams said he wants football, too.

”It’s one of those things that they haven’t been very (much)

wanting to work out a deal with us, but we’ll be playing football

this year,” Adams said. I’ll tell you that for sure.”

Adams founded the Titans as the then-Houston Oilers as part of

the AFL. He took part in the merger and relocated his team to

Tennessee in 1997.

Goodell said he would put his money down for season tickets

because the NFL is doing everything to make sure the league plays

football in 2011. He said the league wants to get back to

negotiations, which is the fastest way to make that happen.

He hasn’t talked to DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the

NFL Players Association, and he said that the NFL is prepared to

negotiate when asked if there might be talks before a hearing April

6 in Minnesota in the lawsuit filed by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning,

Drew Brees and six other NFL players.

”It’s probably easier to count the nights that I’ve had a good

night’s sleep,” Goodell said when asked how many sleepless nights

he’s had in recent weeks.

”The reality is you know how important this game is to our fans

and to the players and coaches and the clubs, and you want to make

sure that you do this right. You want to make sure we address the

issues that are necessary and to get the right agreement. You want

both sides to feel they have an agreement that they can live

with.”