NCNB Corp. has agreed to extend the NFL a $980 million line of credit, boosting the credibility of Charlotte, N.C., as a potential NFL city, an architect of the deal told the Charlotte Observer.
"For people who didn't know what Charlotte has -- was it a one-traffic-light town with a diner? -- they now know one thing: It has got a bank that can make a tremendous loan without a lot of trouble," said Hugh Culverhouse Jr., a member of the NFL's Finance Committee.
"Everybody who's in the league knows that [NCNB chairman] Hugh McColl supports 100 percent the family associated with getting Charlotte a football team."
Charlotte and several other cities, including Baltimore, are considered front-runners for one of two NFL expansion franchises expected to start play in 1994.
But Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, dismissed the deal's effect on NFL expansion.
"That really would not figure in any way," Hunt said. "North Carolina National Bank is very broad-based over a large part of the country."
* DOLPHINS: Pro Bowl tackle Richmond Webb damaged ligaments in his left knee Saturday and will be out for three to four weeks.
Coach Don Shula said that either Jack Linn, Jeff Dellenbach or Gene Williams will take Webb's place on the line. Miami allowed an NFL-low 16 sacks in 1990 and Webb, who started at left tackle, was held accountable for only two of them.