Don't expect to hear "Hail to the Redskins" being played at Memorial Stadium any time soon.
That's the word from Herbert J. Belgrad, the chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, who hasn't heard from the Washington Redskins and doesn't expect to soon.
Belgrad brushed off a report in The Washington Post yesterday that the Redskins are considering playing at Memorial Stadium because they're having trouble reaching terms on a new lease agreement at RFK Stadium in Washington.
"The bottom line is not only has there been no contact [with the Redskins], but I have no reason to anticipate there will be. Like most internal disputes, this one should be resolved in time. Very few teams defect because they can't work out terms of a one- or two-year lease," Belgrad said yesterday.
The NFL also said the Redskins have made no contact with league officials. The league declined to comment about whether owners would have to approve such a move.
"It's not an issue as far as our office is concerned," a league spokesman said.
Owner Jack Kent Cooke, his son, John, and their attorney, Stuart Haney, didn't return phone calls yesterday.
In a letter to the D.C. Armory Board, George Haney, Cooke's attorney, said: "You leave us with but one alternative: to seek a new home elsewhere for the Redskins for the next few seasons."
Haney didn't specify any alternatives, but the Post reported that Cooke "has talked privately of moving the team to Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, now vacant because the Orioles have a new ballpark."
The report didn't identify whom Cooke had spoken to, and said D.C. officials suggest this is a negotiating ploy.
Cooke is trying to extend his lease at RFK Stadium because his plans to build a new stadium have been stalled. Anticipating that Cooke was going to build a new stadium, D.C. officials gave Cooke an interim lease last year that reduced his rent from 12 to 10 percent of gross receipts and gave him 25 percent of the parking and advertising revenue and 20.5 percent of concession revenue.
District officials no longer want to give him those favorable measures unless he agrees to at least a 10-year lease.
Cooke has raised the possibility of building a new stadium in the Virginia suburbs, and District officials figure a long-term lease would forestall that move.
Though Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's office was referring calls to Belgrad yesterday, Belgrad said any decision on Memorial Stadium would come from the city, which owns the stadium.