The deadline for New England Patriots owner Victor Kiam to make a $38 million payment to buy out minority owner Fran Murray passed yesterday without resolution, leaving the ownership issue in the hands of the NFL, according to Murray.
The ownership contract, signed when Kiam and Murray purchased the Patriots from founder William Sullivan three years ago, stated Kiam had until Oct. 10, 1991, to come up with the money.
Murray demanded the full amount by the deadline. At the end of the business day yesterday, no payment had been made and no extension agreement had been reached, he said.
"We have taken the matter to the league, and the league is now reviewing the entire relationship," Murray said.
Murray said it was his understanding that Kiam believed he was entitled to a 30-day grace period, until Nov. 9, to make the payment.
Kiam did not return phone calls placed to Foxboro Stadium or his office at Remington Products Inc.
* BILLS: Defensive end Bruce Smith flew to Alabama to have his injured left knee examined by the surgeon who operated on it July 22.
The All-Pro underwent a brief examination by Dr. Robert Andrews at the Alabama Sports Medicine clinic in Birmingham, according to clinic spokesman Lanier Johnson. Smith is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Smith missed the Bills' first four regular-season games before making his 1991 debut Sept. 29 against the Chicago Bears. After that game, Smith's knee began to swell.
* CARDINALS: Eric Swann, the $4 million gamble of Phoenix's 1991 draft, will start at right defensive end against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Cardinals created a stir when they made Swann, 6 feet 4, 323 pounds, the sixth player chosen. He never played college football, working at odd jobs and playing for a semipro team.