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NEW DAY

Chilly U.S.-Russian Relations; Initial Victory for Obama; Interview with Tony Blinken; "This Is Closure For Her"; Beloved Pet Stolen; NFL Concussion Settlement

Aired September 5, 2013 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Thursday, September 5th, 8:00 in the East.

Coming up this hour, we're going to hear exclusively from the families of Ariel Castro's victims, reacting to the shocking news of his suicide with a mixture of rage and relief, and the aunt of one of the woman insists she knows why the Cleveland kidnapper committed suicide inside his prison cell.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You think you heard it all about Anthony Weiner, but you haven't seen this. You're going to want to watch it. He's standing up for himself and his family.

Wait until you hear what was said to him. The mayoral candidate didn't want it and fiery exchange caught on camera. We'll let you see it.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Also, a story that is probably going to move you. We want to introduce you to dugout the dog. There he is, cute little pug. He's gone missing.

He was in the back of the family's SUV when it was stolen. Now, the owner of the vehicle and the dog's made a dramatic, he will give the thieves the title to the car as long as they give back the dog.

BOLDUAN: Really?

PEREIRA: They have much more in the search coming up. They love that dog.

CUOMO: That's a sad story.

PEREIRA: It is.

CUOMO: We're going to start here, though, right now in Russia, where President Obama touched down for the G-20 Economic Summit. It is sure to be overshadowed, of course, by the debate how to respond to Syria. Russian President Putin is Syria's chief supporter, since Obama and Putin won't meet privately at the summit, body language will be scrutinized to see if there is a thaw in their increasingly icy relationship.

We're going to cover this story like no other network can. Let's start with senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar live in St. Petersburg -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.

Well, President Obama has, yes, as you mentioned, touched down in Russia and he's already begun his first official one-on-one meeting with the key ally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But it's another meeting that is not scheduled, but is likely to happen informally. One with Russian President Vladimir Putin that is getting attention.

President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to come face-to-face at the annual meeting of G-20 leaders as big decisions loom over military action in Syria. Obama defending his position to launch strikes --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent.

KEILAR: Putin remains vehemently opposed, casting doubt over the evidence the U.S. government says it has against the Syrian regime, saying, quote, "If we have objective precise data of who is responsible for these crimes, then we'll react."

Russia is not alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nays have it.

KEILAR: Britain and Germany are refusing to endorse military action.

This is the highest tensions have been between the two world powers since the Cold War.

JAMES F. COLLINS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR: We will have a bad patch if there is a military attack on Syria. I think we can expect some pretty frosty time.

KEILAR: Russia and Syria have been strong allies for decades.

BILL RICHARDSON (D), FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: Russia is very close to Syria. They provide and buy weapons from each other. They are kind of a client state.

KEILAR: The conflict over Syria, just the tip of the iceberg in the rift between the world leaders. Obama canceled his private meeting with Putin several weeks ago after the Russian leader refused to extradite NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

While in St. Petersburg, Obama plans to meet with gay rights activists on Putin's turf, as outrage spreads over Russia's new law banning any promotion of gay relationships between minors. Relations between Putin and Obama increasingly rocky.

OBAMA: We kind of hit a wall in terms of additional progress.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: One senior administration official said, think of this less as a visit to Russia and more as a visit to the G-20 Summit that just happens to be hosted by Russia. Very telling, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Very telling, indeed. Brianna, thank you so much for starting us off.

Back here at home a victory of sorts for the president in his bid to use military force against Syria. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution that authorizes an attack for 60 days with an option for an extension there. The full Senate votes next week but the real challenge is still ahead in the House.

Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is live in Washington with more on this angle this morning.

Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate.

Yes, just two hours from now administration officials will begin to make their final push on Congress to authorize that force in Syria, but this meeting is behind closed doors and coming just a day after that key vote in the Senate and a very, very tough reception for both the secretary of state and defense.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE (voice-over): This is the hard sell, from the inner circle, to take action.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter.

LAWRENCE: Laying the price of not acting --

GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There is absolutely a risk of escalation in the use of chemical weapons if we do nothing.

LAWRENCE: And the cost of air strikes to America.

CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It would be the tens of millions of dollars, that kind of range.

LAWRENCE: One explosive confrontation shows the hard work ahead to win over the House.

REPRESENTATIVE JEFF DUNCAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. Kerry, you have never been one that has advocated for anything other than caution involving U.S. forces and past conflicts. Is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating that would you abandon past caution in favor for pulling the trigger on a military response so quickly?

KERRY: Because I volunteered to fight for my country and that wasn't a cautious thing to do when I did it. We're talking about people being killed by gas and you want to go talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious.

LAWRENCE: Two U.S. Navy ships have left the Eastern Med leaving four destroyers in the waters near Syria.

Questions remain, not about the strike itself, but what comes next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we do if they shoot back at Americans in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But then who is the other side? Who are the rebel forces?

LAWRENCE: Administration officials say they've kept the Syrian opposition from allying with extremist fighters, but the clock is ticking.

KERRY: And people will resort to anybody they can find to help them accomplish their goal and we would have created more extremism and a greater problem down the road.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: In that hearing, Kerry was asked if the president himself would do more to communicate with the American people, even make a speech one night soon. Kerry said he had no doubt that the president would. Something to keep an eye on, Chris.

CUOMO: Absolutely, Chris. Appreciate the reporting this morning.

Joining us now from the White House lawn is deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken.

Thank you for being here, sir. Appreciate it.

TONY BLINKEN, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Let's start off with what former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld said. He's talking about a crisis of leadership and that is what is poisoning the well here on Syria for President Obama. Do you agree? What is your take about the president's step so far politically here?

BLINKEN: Chris, I think it's exactly the opposite. What we've seen over the last couple of days is support building on a bipartisan basis in Congress. A couple days ago, we had Speaker Boehner and we had Republican leader Cantor, as well as Nancy Pelosi on the Democratic side come out in support of the authorization to use force.

Yesterday, on a bipartisan basis in the Senate, we saw Republicans, Democrats come together on the Foreign Relations Committee, to give the president the authorization he's requested. So, I think it's just the contrary. The president going to Congress and wanting to hear that they had their voice heard and vote counted.

CUOMO: Can you explain the two different statements on the red line. A year or so ago the president's red line and yesterday's the world's red line.

BLINKEN: Sure, Chris. The president was exactly right. Almost 100 years ago after world war one when we saw the terrible effect of poison gas in war and the world came together and something called the Geneva Protocol emerged that said you can't use chemical weapons in war.

Then, a decade ago, congress came together with countries around the world, passed something called a chemical weapons convention. Ninety- eight percent of the world's people represented saying you can't use chemical weapons. You've got to give them up if you've got them. Congress passed that overwhelmingly and something most recently Syria Accountability Act overwhelmingly passed in the House and the Senate and motivated by concerns here.

So, there's an international red line that goes back almost 100 years. There's a congressional red line that goes back all over a decade.

CUOMO: Nobody is really questioning whether or not using the chemical weapons is wrong and universally seen as that. It's about who is going to do what about it. When he said to the president, this is my red line, it will change my calculus, it will change my agenda, and then, he says, it's all of us. Doesn't that justifiable seem weak?

BLINKEN: No, not at all. I think it underscores the fact that it should be all of us. We should have other countries with us and we do. Countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, like Kuwait, like France, like Canada, Australia, and others who expressed support for taking action against this use of chemical weapons and Congress.

It's -- we are more effective, we're stronger when we act together and that's exactly why the president went to Congress.

CUOMO: Help us understand what can seem like a mixed message. Usually if you attack somebody, you do it to take them out. Here, you seem to be planning an attack not to take someone out and at the same time, the administration says they believe the only solution is a political solution.

Well, then, why attack? It seems like mixed messages. Can you reconcile them for us?

BLINKEN: Chris, there are two things going on here. It's been an underlying conflict and war going on in Syria for two years. We have a strategy to end that through a political transition, negotiated strategy. We think that is the only sustainable way to end a civil war. It's tough. It takes time. But what it involves is putting pressure on the Assad regime, isolating it, and at the same time, building up the opposition and humanitarian program to help people who are affected by this, and a diplomatic track for what a transition would look like and even the Russians have signed on to those. As we're working this, as we're trying to get a political transition, we have this terrible use of chemical weapons on August 21st killing well over thousands of people and hundreds of children. That something that goes beyond even Syria, beyond even the region, that's something we have to stand up and say, you can't do it. The norm that's been there for 100 years needs to be enforced.

CUOMO: The question becomes, what do you do about it? Explain why you believe that military action is better than arming the rebels there and providing the humanitarian aid directly helping those afflicted and directly helping those who are fighting their own war.

BLINKEN: Chris, you know, what we have been doing, as I noted, working with the opposition, trying to build it up, make it more cohesive. Just as we put the pressure on Assad and isolate him.

But when you have something as egregious as the use of a weapon of mass destruction that kills in one fell swoop, well over 1,000 people, when you have a message being sent to other people in the region and beyond that it's OK to pursue these weapons and it's even OK to use them, you can do it with impunity, that presents a serious threat to our national security and the security of our partners. So, we need to take a step to enforce it.

The military tool here used in a limited way, in a targeted way and focused way, we're convinced will deter Assad from using these weapons, again. And even if you were to make the mistake of doing it again, make it more difficult for him to do so.

CUOMO: Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, is there a feeling in the White House that this man has high ground because he's expressing a concern of the international community that we saw echoed in the United Kingdom, that the United States has to go farther to prove their case given what happened with the intelligence in Iraq or lack thereof, given what we have known so far about the chemical weapons.

Is there a message in that that the White House should heed?

BLINKEN: You know, Chris, I think what we have seen first here at home as members of Congress see all the information. They're the people's representatives. They come away convinced, not only chemical weapons were used but the Assad regime used them against their own people, including its own children. That's one.

Second, there is a very powerful public case beyond even the intelligence that we have that's gone around the world. Contemporaneous with the terrible events of August 21st. Social media, videos, doctors, NGOs, other countries all reporting on what happened.

I think the case is very powerful, and if you look around the world, dozens and dozens of countries have said chemical weapons were used and Assad used them. So, I think the case is strong and not a lot of doubt about it, not only in the United States, but around the world.

CUOMO: Will the president address the nation and make the case for why military action is warranted and, perhaps, even more importantly, articulate a plan to get out because, as you know, Mr. Blinken, big concern what we've seen with Iraq was supposed to be quick. It's been over a decade now. How we get out is very difficult. It's easy to get in.

Will that be part of the speech?

BLINKEN: Chris, I think it's safe to say that the president will address the American people on the need to hold Assad accountable for the use of poison gas on his own people and his own children.

You make a very good point, though. When people hear military action and Syria, they immediately see this through the prism of the last decade. A war in Iraq, a war in Afghanistan hundreds of thousands of American troops. That is not boots on the ground.

This is not Iraq, it's not Afghanistan and it's not even Libya. It's a targeted focus to prevent Assad from using these weapons, again.

CUOMO: What if it doesn't work?

BLINKEN: We believe it will work.

CUOMO: What if it doesn't?

BLINKEN: Again, we map out every possible hypothetical contingency.

Look, any time you take military action, there is a risk. And there are unintended consequences. We spend a lot of time gaming those out and taking steps to mitigate them. We look to make sure there won't be escalation.

But what we know is the risks of not acting are far greater still. We know if we don't act, then Assad will continue to use the weapons with impunity. We know if we don't act, the threshold on using terrible weapons around the world will get lower and lower. We know if we don't act, countries that have these weapons or trying to get them will conclude they can get them and use with impunity. Those are the stakes.

CUOMO: Obviously, you can't tell us what it is -- but do you have a plan in place if there is retaliation by Syria or Iran or by Hezbollah because of this?

BLINKEN: Chris, we do, but we don't think that Syria or Iran or anyone else is looking to pick a fight with the United States. They understand that Syria has crossed a line and needs to be held accountable. But if they were to do something full hardy, we have plans in place to deal with that.

CUOMO: But as you said, Mr. Blinken, yourself, there is always risk. Thank you very much.

BLINKEN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective here on NEW DAY.

BLINKEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Tonight, we're going to host a town hall on exactly this to discuss the crisis, the questions that so many of you have. We'll have a panel of experts, but there's going to be a live audience to get at those concerns that regular people have in the United States. Tonight, at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thank you.

We're watching a tropical storm called Gabrielle bringing heavy rain and 40-mile-an-hour winds to Puerto Rico at the moment. Gabrielle formed late last night in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. It's the seventh tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. What does this mean for all of us? Let's get straight to Indra Petersons in the weather center, keeping an eye on it all -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We're actually looking for some heavy rain right in the island. Currently, you can see it there over Puerto Rico. Steady winds 40 miles per hour. Important to note, though, it's moving pretty slow at only eight miles per hour, and with that, we'll see a lot of heavy rain. Even up to as much as 15 inches in some of the mountain areas when the area where the terrain is pretty steep.

We could have some flash flooding concerns. Otherwise, you want to look at the track here. It's going to move out to sea and actually stay even east of Bermuda. So, that is the good thing. In fact, there is a potential it may not even hold together once it goes with the islands, but it does get out in the ocean, of course, and could strengthen in the waters, again. We'll be monitoring that.

The big story everyone just continues to talk about, it is September. We have not had a hurricane yet. Everyone wants to know how often have we seen that? Well, since we've had active satellites here, only five times have we seen that. The latest we've actually ever gone is September 16th in 1941. So, pre-satellite area before we've ever seen a hurricane. Here's the thing to note, though. Even though it's only happened five times, the average number of hurricanes you've seen in a year is about six.

With all of these seasons, we still got that number into play. So, unfortunately, it could mean a lot more just on the back end. The only piece of good news, as you go forward in time, past maybe about mid-October, we start to shift it away from the threat of the U.S. mainland. For that reason, I actually wanted to plot how many of these landed as a major hurricane of these seasons.

It's actually one only just south of Rio Grande there in Texas and it actually made landfall at five Rio Grande, but it's three (ph). So, that's pretty interesting. Of all these seasons, we only had one with a major hurricane make landfall. So, hopefully, we can keep that trend and keep those numbers down.

CUOMO: So, bottom line, for our media concerns here, do I have to worry about grabbing the go-bag and having --

PETERSONS: Always.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Indra.

CUOMO: All right. We want to talk to you now about the strong reaction to the news of Ariel Castro's suicide. The three women he kidnapped and imprisoned in his home for a decade aren't talk about it, at least, not in public, but their families are. The aunt of one of his victims is speaking exclusively to CNN. So, let's bring in Pamela Brown. She's in Cleveland where Castro's home once stood. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. Even though the survivors aren't talking understandably, we are getting some insight into how they reacted to the news of Castro's death and one of their family members. Of course, it came as a shock. It was unexpected, but Gina DeJesus' aunt says that if anything, it's helping them move forward with their lives even more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANICE SMITH, GINA DEJESUS' AUNT: It moves s we can move on with our lives now. It means, hopefully, we won't have to hear about Mr. Castro no more.

BROWN (voice-over): Closure for Janice Smith and her family after the man who tormented her niece, Gina DeJesus, for 10 years killed himself in his jail cell after just one month behind bars in state prison.

SMITH: He knows what he did. He knows it was wrong. And I just think that he couldn't live with it. And I believe that's probably why he took his life.

BROWN: Smith says after welcoming Gina home in May and seeing Castro sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years, she thought this horrible chapter for her family had ended. Now, Ariel Castro's family is coming to grips with the loss of the man they once knew as a brother, son and father, not as a monster.

JUAN ALICEA, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: Even though he did all of these bad things and the family does not condone that, they will and they must grieve.

BROWN: Others cheered Castro's suicide. Amanda Berry's grandmother telling NEW DAY, "I love it. I feel so happy. But I wish he had starved to death or suffered more somehow." Prison officials say Castro hanged himself with a bed sheet inside this prison in Orient, Ohio. He was in protective custody, isolated from other prisoners, and checked on every half hour.

CRAIG WEINTRAUB, ARIEL CASTRO'S ATTORNEY: He should have been on a suicide watch and there shouldn't have been a watch every 30 minutes. There should have been somebody outside of his cell more frequently.

BROWN: On Seymour Street where the house of horrors once stood, signs of life and hope. A garden planted and the lives of Castro's victims now filled with promise.

SMITH: She's with her family, she's free. She's home and I think that's what matters to her.

BROWN: And this is closure for her.

SMITH: This is closure for her, yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (on-camera): Of course, that's what's most important. And take a live look here. This is where Ariel Castro's home once stood. As you can see, it's no longer there. It was demolished a few weeks ago and it's been replaced with this green space here in the neighborhood. This is part of what the community wanted and it's also a way for those women to move forward with their lives.

Now, as for the investigation, the Bureau of Prisons tells us that a mental health evaluation was given to Castro when he was first admitted to the prison earlier last month. Back to you, Kate and Chris.

BOLDUAN: All right. Pamela, thanks so much for bringing us that update. It's good to hear from at least any of the family members on this.

There is a lot of news that we're developing at this hour. So, let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's bring you the headlines. Good morning, everyone.

An independent panel says the state department has not been paying enough attention to security at diplomatic posts overseas. CNN has learned that the panel will call on the state department to make security a higher priority when it issues its 31-page report. This panel was created as part of the inquiry into last September's deadly attack on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Boston police questioning -- rather, getting a big clue as they try to link Aaron Hernandez to two more killings. Security cameras allegedly caught the former NFL star and two men in a nightclub at the same time. Those two men were later found dead, shot to death. No one has been charged in their deaths.

A grand jury is looking into whether Hernandez was involved. He faces arraignment tomorrow for the murder of his one-time friend, Odin Lloyd.

Montana prosecutors trying to stop a judge from resentencing a teacher who received just 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old student. The judge now says he was wrong and plan to hold a new hearing Friday to re-sentence Stacey Rumbolt (ph) to at least two years in jail. However, prosecutors say only the state Supreme Court can fix this. They're now asking the high court to put tomorrow's hearing on hold.

And finally, police in Missouri are in the hunt for this. A missing dog. The dog was inside the family vehicle when it was stolen. That family now has quite an offer to get their beloved dog, named Dugout, back home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEREIRA (on-camera): It's a crime that would make the wicked witch green with envy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.

PEREIRA: One family's SUV stolen with their family pug Dugout still inside. Doug Clark of Springfield, Missouri, stopped at this metal recycling business last week to drop off his family's broken trampoline.

DOUG CLARK, OWNER OF STOLEN DOG: I had Dugout with me. So, I left the air-conditioning on. I was just going to step in that office real quick. I put the e-brake on. I left the car running. The keys were in it.

PEREIRA: He was only inside the store for a minute. It was enough time for the suspects to enter his SUV and take off with Dugout in tow. For the Clark family, it isn't the loss of their car that's the hardest. It's the loss of Dugout.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: I would go get all his dog toys and play.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: I used to throw and he used to go catch it. He used to run like a bunny.

CLARK: We were trying to reach as many people as we can to at least make everyone aware of what Dugout looked like and the location that he was taken from.

PEREIRA: And he's offering a hefty trade to bring him home. The title to their 2009 Nissan Pathfinder.

CLARK: Absolutely. They bring me Dugout back, and I'll hand them the title.

PEREIRA: Because at the end of the day, a car is just a car, but Dugout is family.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PEREIRA: Yes, you heard it right. The title to the car. In addition to offering thieves the car, the Clark Family is actually spreading the word on Facebook. They're also adding a $2,000 reward. They really just want their puppy back home. So, we wish them well. If you hear anything, get on Facebook, tweet us, do whatever you can, because they really love their dog back.

CUOMO: It's tough.

BOLDUAN: It is tough. And they love that dog, obviously. All right. Thanks so much, Michaela.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, as the NFL season kicks off 2013, here we come, Commissioner Roger Goodell is on the offensive. He's slashing out at critics who say the league isn't doing enough for its former players. We'll have more on that.

CUOMO: And Samsung is coming out with its new galaxy gear smartwatch. Guess what? I got one. A very rare example here in the studio. We're going to put it to the test. Look at my big awkward fingers on it. Let's see if I can get it to turn it on. There it is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: You know the music, you know what it means. Welcome back here. The NFL season kicked off the starters (INAUDIBLE) Bruce Almighty, nice, caught it against his chest. We want to see hands. Always hands first, boys and girls at home.

The players getting back on the gridiron. Commissioner Roger Goodell also playing offense. He's taking on critics this morning over players' safety. Let's bring in Rachel Nichols. She's in Denver where the action will be tonight and the action is right now. Good morning, Rachel.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Chris. You know, there's no better PR for the game of football than players actually playing the game of football. And tonight, Peyton Manning and the Broncos trying to get a little revenge on the Ravens' team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

The Ravens is going to take the field for the first time in their 17- year franchise history without their now retired hall of famer, Ray Lewis. And all of that is music to Roger Goodell's ears. He wants the focus back on the game.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICHOLS (voice-over): Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, won't be the only one on the offensive tonight as the NFL season gets under way. Commissioner Roger Goodell is also making a full charge, trying to boost the league's image after a controversial off season. His first move came last week when the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with the thousands former players suing over concussion- related ailments.

Then, yesterday, Goodell announced a $10 million grant to study head injuries. He also kicked off a national bus tour to publicize this year's Super Bowl and remind fans why pro-football is still the country's most popular sport.

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: No one really knows who's going to win, who's going to emerge as the next great star, but that's what makes NFL football exciting. Everybody has that hope. Everybody has that dream of winning. And that's what fans love about NFL football.

NICHOLS: Still, the concussion issue continues to linger when pressed on whether $765 million was generous enough for a league with revenues around $10 billion. Goodell noted that, quote, "People start with making an assumption that we make $10 billion. That's $10 billion in revenue and there's a difference between making and revenue."

Goodell added that, quote, "$765 million is a lot of money." And it may be, but earlier this week, four former players filed a brand-new lawsuit alleging the NFL hid information about the dangers of brain injuries. In an interview with CNN earlier this summer, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon who suffered multiple concussions, alleged the same thing.

Do you think when you were playing that they knew more than what they were saying?

JIM MCMAHON, FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK: we definitely knew they knew more.

NICHOLS: The NFL?

MCMAHON: We definitely know they know more than what they told us. But, you know, back then, nobody questioned the hierarchy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NICHOLS: Of course, now, there are plenty of questions for the NFL, but at least at kickoff tonight, much to the league office's relief, some of those questions can be answered on the field and, guys, this is a good matchup for the two of you. You got young Buck Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco, versus 37-year-old Peyton Manning.

Kate, you might want to remind your older colleague sitting next to you there no one Manning's age has won a Super Bowl since John Elway did it here 15 years ago.