Leading Off

Goodell visits Everett at Buffalo hospital

NFL commish Roger Goodell (top) visited injured Bills tight end Kevin Everett (bottom) on Thursday morning, spending 90 minutes with the tight end who sustained a severe spinal cord injury. Goodell flew from New York City to Buffalo, N.Y., 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.

Cowboys lasso riches

The Dallas Cowboys wrested the title of the NFL's most valuable franchise from the rival Redskins, knocking Washington off the top of the list for the first time in eight years, according to Forbes magazine's annual survey. Thanks to a new $1 billion stadium set to open in 2009, the Cowboys' value increased by 28 percent -- by far the largest jump among NFL teams this year -- to $1.5 billion. They climbed from third to first in the rankings, leapfrogging the Redskins ($1.467 billion) and the New England Patriots ($1.199 billion). The new stadium added about $350 million to the Cowboys' value. The Raiders rank 28th at $812 million, while the 49ers are 30th in the 32-team league at $799 million.

Oden out for season

Greg Oden's rookie season with the Portland Trail Blazers ended before it started when the 7-footer had knee surgery. The top pick in the June draft went in for an exploratory procedure on his right knee and ended up having microfracture surgery, which means he will sit out the season.

Crazier court vision

LeBron James had Lasik eye surgery over the weekend to improve his vision, according to Dr. Kerry Assil, who performed the procedure in Beverly Hills. James has been cleared to resume his offseason workouts. The 22-year-old James has had a busy summer hosting the ESPY Awards and helping the United States win the FIBA Americas championship in Las Vegas. He will host "Saturday Night Live" on Sept. 29, two days before the Cleveland Cavaliers open training camp. Cleveland won its first Eastern Conference title last season before being swept by San Antonio in the finals.