Goodell visits with Everett at hospital for 90 minutes

9/13/2007 - NFL Kevin Everett Buffalo Bills + more

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visited
injured tight end Kevin Everett on Thursday morning, spending
90 minutes with the Bills player who sustained a severe spinal cord injury.

Goodell flew from New York to Buffalo to meet with Everett
and his mother, Patricia Dugas, in the player's room at Millard
Fillmore Gates Hospital, hospital spokesman Mike Hughes said.

Bills general manager Marv Levy also was in the room.

Hughes said Goodell requested permission to make the visit
Wednesday, hours after Everett's doctors expressed "cautious
optimism" that the player might be able to walk again. Everett
sustained a life-threatening spinal-cord injury in Buffalo's season
opener against Denver on Sunday.

"He just wanted to go up to see him," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said of Goodell.

Everett has shown significant signs of recovery since awakening
from a sedated state Tuesday.

Doctors said the player can wiggle his toes, bend his hip, move
his ankles, elevate and kick his leg, as well as extend his elbows
and slightly flex his biceps. While all are significant signs of
improvement, he noted that Everett has yet to show any movement in his hands.

"There are some answers now. And many more questions remain," said Dr. Kevin Gibbons, the hospital's supervisor of neurosurgery. "The patient's made significant improvement. But no one should think the functions in his legs is close to normal. Not even close. ... If you ask me, 'Would he walk again?' I would tell you that I wouldn't bet against it. But he has a long way to go."

Doctors were also confident enough in Everett's recovery that they took him off a respirator Wednesday.

When Everett arrived at the hospital Sunday, he was paralyzed below his neck.

"For me personally, it is difficult to put into words the depth of my concern I feel towards this courageous young man," Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. said in a statement. "I want to express my truly heart-felt best wishes for Kevin and his mother, Patricia, and their entire family during this challenging time. I will remain optimistic for Kevin in the days ahead and I encourage everyone to keep Kevin in your thoughts and prayers."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.