Vote of confidence for Goodell as trouble looms

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been given a new five-year contract as the league heads into a key period of labor negotiations that could lead to a work stoppage in 2011.

Goodell replaced Paul Tagliabue on Sept. 1, 2006, and his contract was due to expire this September. The NFL said Friday that owners voted to award the new contract when they met in December, and his new deal runs until March 2015.

“We’re going into a major negotiation. It will be very difficult probably in many ways and we want to have someone who has his own views, who’s going to have to make some hard decisions that maybe some of us won’t like,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said during a telephone interview.

“But in the end, I think we’re confident that he and his team will do what’s for the best long-term interest of the league,” said Kraft, a member of the league’s compensation committee. “Having stability in our management team is critical.”

Seahawks sign snappers

The Seattle Seahawks signed long snappers Patrick MacDonald and Matt Overton, a former player at Western Washington.

The Seahawks have used six long snappers in three years since Jean-Philippe Darche left in free agency for Kansas City following the 2006 season.

The team also lost two coaches.

The Cleveland Browns hired Tom Headlee as a pro scout. Headlee spent the last 10 years in Seattle as an assistant coach and then defensive quality control coach.

Also, receivers coach Robert Prince is joining the coaching staff at Colorado, where he reunites with Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins. Prince spent one season with the Seahawks.

Porter’s release invalid?

Joey Porter’s widely anticipated parting with the Miami Dolphins took a bizarre twist.

The Dolphins announced the release of the disgruntled linebacker. Less than three hours later, they said the move was “determined to be an invalid termination. Therefore at this time, Porter reverts back to the Miami Dolphins roster.” The Dolphins declined to elaborate, as did the NFL.

Extra points

The Browns signed free agent defensive back John Bowie. … The Steelers, one of the league’s most popular and successful franchises, plan to follow a self-imposed cap in 2010 and won’t take advantage of the lack of a collective bargaining agreement to add more quality free agents than usual. ... Troubled receiver Matt Jones agreed to a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.