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Goodell says Duerson’s death ‘sad’

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was the latest to address the death of former Bears safety Dave Duerson after arriving for a round of labor talks with the NFL Players Association on Sunday in Washington, D.C.

Duerson, 50, was found dead Thursday night in his home outside Miami, Fla., with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest. His suicide came after he reportedly requested via a text message to loved ones that his brain be examined for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease associated with repeated head injuries that can result in depression, dementia and suicide.

‘‘He’s a good man,’’ Goodell said. ‘‘It’s sad.’’

The first documented case of CTE came in 2007 after the brain tissue of former Philadelphia Eagles safety Andre Waters was examined after his suicide. Since then, some 20 cases have been diagnosed posthumously. Because the test for CTE involves examining brain tissue, the condition can’t be detected until ­after death. Symptoms that include dementia, aggression and depression can appear months after a brain trauma or several decades later, ­fueling fears that there could be a future epidemic of such cases.

The suicide rate among ex-NFL players is six times the national average, according to, a website dedicated to helping former players adjust to retirement.

Goodell spoke before the league and union met with a federal mediator for the third consecutive day while negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires March 3, at which point owners are expected to lock out the players.

Duerson was an active member of the NFLPA who once sat on the board that rules on the disability claims of retired players.

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