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Smith discusses NFL Competition Committee

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Texans general manager Rick Smith was appointed to the NFL's Competition Committee by Commissioner Roger Goodell the NFL announced on Friday. The committee is responsible for overseeing playing rules, personnel rules and game operations. Smith talked to Texans TV's Brooke Bentley about his new role on the prestigious committee.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): This is a huge honor. You're a part of the competition committee with eight elite members of the NFL. Talk about what an honor it is to be named.

General manager Rick Smith: It is an honor. It's an enormous responsibility first and then a tremendous honor second. (It's) fortunate anytime you can have some impact at the league level. So, (I'm) certainly excited about the opportunity to serve and excited about, like you said, joining an elite group of men to make sure that we are protecting the integrity of the game.

Brooke Bentley: Well, there are eight members and they're from all around the league, including Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher. Talk about your rapport with the members of this committee.

Rick Smith: Obviously having been in this league for a little while, I have relationships with all of them, some of them better than others. (Cincinnati Bengals coach) Marvin Lewis is one of them. Obviously Jeff Fisher, very strong relationships and ties with those guys and really all of them - even a guy that we compete with twice a year in Bill Pollian has been very good to me in a sense that from time to time I'll pick up the phone and call him. So, I'm looking forward to working with the entire group. Mark Richardson with the Panthers is another guy that over the years I've come to get to know and to really respect and appreciate his friendship as well. So, I'm excited about that.

{QUOTE}Brooke Bentley: Many fans may not know exactly what the competition committee is, but you make sure the game is played at the right level, at the highest level. Maybe talk a little bit more about what the committee does.

Rick Smith: Well, basically what we do is as things happen over the course of a football season or whether a rule changes or things that happen that we take a look and say, 'Hey, this didn't work the way we wanted it to work and so lets look at the rules and lets see if there is anything that we can tweak that might enable the game to function a little bit more smoothly. So, that's basically what we're charged to do is to just make sure that the on field product is as good as it can be.

Brooke Bentley: How do you balance the interests with the Texans with and then with the entire league and the committee?

Rick Smith: Obviously, this is first and foremost and my top priority. In terms of time and what's required or what you've got to do in terms of being a member of the committee, I think there's a week of meetings before the combine and another week of meetings before the league meetings. So from a time commitment standpoint, physically having to go somewhere, I think it's a couple of weeks and then obviously conference calls and those types of things, but hopefully we'll be able to figure out a way to manage both.

Brooke Bentley: Earlier this season there have been a couple of calls that referees have come out and said they blew. One of them was Ed Hochuli at the beginning of the season. Then I know that those rules go before the competition committee. The competition committee reviews what happened on the field and commissioner Goodell then weighs in. Talk about this process works.

Rick Smith: Well, like you said, it happens that way. It happens, maybe coaches have things that have happened to them over the course of a season and they'll say, 'Hey, we ought to look at this rule. This rule is intended to mean this but it was applied this way.' So, let's make sure that the language of the rule is correct or if something that we're doing that doesn't work for us. And that can come from the commissioner, it can come from coaches, it can come from general managers, football operations. So everybody is all in this thing together. We're all trying to make sure we have a product that the fans enjoy, that functions the way we want it to function. So, we're just the arm that makes sure we take a look at all those things. Then, the only thing that we would do at that point, is to look at it, figure out if there is a recommendation to make a change, or not. And if there is a recommendation to make a change then we'll take that thing to membership for votes.

Brooke Bentley: What do you think the biggest challenge facing the competition committee this upcoming year?

Rick Smith: I don't know what that is. I know that we look at everything. And like you say, the commissioner has been good about making sure that certain things are emphasized over other things. And I'm sure that as we come out of this year and look at some of the things that have happened this year. If there are some rules that need to be tweaked, then obviously we'll go through that process that we just talked about. And hopefully we'll continue to play at a very, very high level.

Brooke Bentley: What is the major issue you would like to see resolved, or you would like to see examined at least?

Rick Smith: You know, I don't know if there is one thing that I am looking for or trying to be out front on. I think our game is very good right now, and what we have to do is just make sure that we continue to be proactive in looking at the ways that we can continue to enhance what we do. So, I'm just excited about being in that process.

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