Goodell thanks fans for patience with NFL lockout

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has thanked several hundred Carolina fans for their patience and support during the long lockout that threatened this season.

Goodell took questions from Panthers fans Wednesday night, his first of about a half-dozen summer trips to NFL training camps. He says that although negotiations were tedious and difficult at times, agreements often come through such a difficult process.

Goodell also congratulated Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, chairman of the owners' executive committee, for his leadership and persistence in bargaining.

Goodell received warm applause from fans, largely happy that labor problems will not impact the season.