Belgrad may lend ear to Patriots' Kiam PRO FOOTBALL

March 16, 1991|By Vito Stellino

Herbert Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said yesterday that he hasn't been contacted by Victor Kiam, the owner of the New England Patriots who told Massachusetts officials Thursday that he may move the team if he doesn't get a new stadium in the Boston area.

Belgrad declined to comment when asked whether Kiam had contacted anyone in Baltimore.

Stephen Tocco, a special assistant to Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, said Kiam met for a half-hour Thursday with Weld and Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn and outlined some of his options, which included moving to Rhode Island, Baltimore or one of the several cities being considered for an National Football League expansion franchise.

Belgrad, who is traveling to Kona, Hawaii, today for the annual weeklong NFL March meetings, said the city's main goal remains to get an expansion team, but he won't refuse any requests for talks by an existing franchise that already has decided it will move.

Baltimore made an effort to get the Cardinals when they decided to leave St. Louis after the 1987 season, but they moved to Phoenix.

"The simplest way to put it is if in good faith a current franchise has determined to relocate and that decision is final, then we would certainly want to talk with them," Belgrad said.

Belgrad said he would be available if Kiam asks for a talk in Hawaii during the NFL meetings.

"It would be exploratory and preliminary and basically exchanging information, but we've had no contact and no meetings are scheduled," Belgrad said.

Kiam would not comment to reporters about the meeting with Weld and Flynn.

Belgrad said he expected that Kiam would meet with the other expansion contenders if he decided to leave.

"The way the game operates is that the owners use one city for leverage against the others to get the best benefits for the team," Belgrad said.

Kiam might be more likely to move to St. Louis because Fran Murray, one of the leaders of the St. Louis expansion effort, is a minority owner of the Patriots.

Murray, who was in Hawaii yesterday, said he'd had no talks with Kiam on the subject of moving the team.

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