ASHBURN, VA — ASHBURN, Va. -- Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL owner to endorse publicly a four-team expansion yesterday, and he virtually suggested he would like to see the Malcolm Glazer family get one of the teams.
Although commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Tuesday that the owners still plan to expand by two teams in October, Jones said in a conference call to Redskin Park, "I'm one of the owners who are positive in leaning towards expansion in more than two cities. I think there are owners who want to look at it."
Jones said it wouldn't be appropriate for him to rate the cities, but he said positive things about the Glazer family because they have the only single-family ownership application in any of the expansion cities.
Glazer, the owner of First Allied Corp. based in Boynton Beach, Fla., is one of the two potential owners attempting to get a team for Baltimore. The other is a group headed by Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, owner of the Merry-Go-Round clothing chain.
Jones wasn't part of a group when he bought the Cowboys for about $140 million in 1989.
When he was asked if he preferred single-family ownership, he said, "I don't necessarily prefer it [but] I'm sure I would look favorably on it. That's quite a commitment with the kinds of resources that it takes to get involved. There are very few people who have the inclination and can qualify to be involved in the NFL, and being one who did that, I'd sure welcome that in the NFL."
When he was asked if he had met Glazer, he said: "I've met him and his sons and they're excellent people. From my perspective, I am thrilled they're as interested as they are in joining the NFL and being a part of the NFL. That's a real plus. It makes me feel good. I'm honored they want to come in and join us on that basis."
Jones was then asked if he would support Glazer, and he said, "I can't get involved in [showing] preference or anything. I can say I do support them. I will qualify that because I want it said that Jerry supported all groups [but] I do feel good they're [the Glazers] willing to make that kind of commitment to the NFL."
Bryan Glazer, one of Malcolm's sons, said yesterday, "We appreciate his comments. The way he went into football is very similar to ours. He has a very large family and they're
all actively involved in the operation of the franchise. We relate very well to him."
Jones wouldn't name a timetable for the adding of an additional two teams, but said he favored a "staggered type of expansion sooner rather than later."
While Jones is the first owner to come out publicly for four teams, representatives from the five finalists in the expansion derby often have suggested it.
Baltimore, St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., are the five finalists.
Although opponents don't want to divide the television pie that the teams share equally, Jones said, "We've got some great communities, so the negative of watering down the shares of the television are offset by the fact we can involve these ownership groups in our game."