The NFL announced on Wednesday that Ray Anderson, the longtime VP of football operations for the league, is stepping down at the end of the season.
Anderson told me he has been discussing the situation with Commissioner Roger Goodell for several weeks and "it was a mutual decision that we both agreed upon."
Anderson, who has been interviewed by several teams for team president positions and had a long history in the league as a player agent, front office exec and NFL league office exec, said he was looking for "varied and new challenges" as he moves forward with the next stage of his career, and he remains very committed to staying in the game.
Anderson has been one of the league's highest ranking officials and played a key role in overseeing the officiating department and handling on-field discipline decisions for the league.
He was a key advisor to Goodell, and his duties are very likely to be taken over by former 49ers and Seahawks cornerback Merton Hanks, who has risen up the football operations department hierarchy within the league office and is held in very high regard by both league officials and team execs.