City letter-writer gets pack of Green Bay flak

November 29, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

Football fan Patricia Dugan did her part to support Baltimore's bid for an NFL expansion team this month, mailing 15 letters to NFL teams in a campaign promoted by Channel 11 sports anchor Gerry Sandusky.

But she never expected the letter she got back Friday.

In a curious, three-paragraph response apparently from Ron Wolf, vice president and general manager of the Green Bay Packers, he didnot offer much hope that Baltimore will be awarded a franchise tomorrow when league owners meet near Chicago to vote on the second expansion team.

"You had a franchise not once, but twice and your city pretty much blew it," the letter said. "I don't feel that you can expect the NFL to award your city another franchise at this time."

The letter, on Packers stationery, was postmarked Nov. 23 and arrived in a Packers envelope.

Channel 11 reported the response on Friday.

More curiously, Wolf yesterday denied having said what is in the letter.

"That's not my letter," Wolf said from Green Bay after the Packers beat Tampa Bay, 13-10.

Wolf said he remembers getting Dugan's letter, and dictating a response. But upon hearing the letter Dugan received, Wolf said it didn'tcome from him.

"It sounds like what I said," he said. "But I wouldn't be that negative. What I stressed is that you don't have a right to a team."

He also said he would have signed "Ron Wolf" and not just "Ron," as the letter Dugan received is signed.

Wolf does not vote in league matters for the Packers, anyway. That responsibility belongs to team president Robert E. Harlan.

Wolf speculated that someone in his office may have sent out a letterunder his name. He would not speculate further.

The reference to two teams apparently includes the Colts who were dissolved after their first NFL season in 1950, as well as to the latter Colts' move to Indianapolis in 1984.

In still another twist to the story, Wolf grew up in New Freedom, Pa., attended McDonogh School for a time and was a Colts fan.

"I was a big Baltimore Colts fan," he said. "Bigger than a lot of people could imagine. I go back to when they wore green and silver. My dad had season tickets."

Wolf's reply was the only one Dugan got, she said. Dugan, an insurance underwriter, said she sent similar letters to the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Phoenix Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, among others.

"I normally don't do this," she said. "I never write letters."

But when Channel 11's Sandusky promoted a letter-writing campaign earlier this month, she decided to participate.

"I expected something like a PR letter [in return]," Dugan said. "Like, 'Thanks for writing, your city did a good job.' I didn't think it'd be nasty. That was cold. Very cold. I didn't expect, 'You blew it twice.' "

Dugan said she and her brother went to the exhibition game between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints at Memorial Stadium in August 1992. And because her father held season tickets, she used to attend Colts games. The last line of her letter to NFL teams read, "I know what it's like to see your team sneak out in the night."

Now, she knows what it's like to get slapped in the face on top of it.

THE LETTER

The text of the letter sent to Patricia Dugan of Baltimore on Green Bay Packers stationery:

Dear Ms. Dugan:

Thank you for your recent letter regarding my vote for the additional franchise team.

You had a franchise not once, but twice and your city pretty much blew it. I don't feel that you can expect the NFL to award your city another franchise at this time. The NFL will do the proper thing for all concerned.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Ron WolfVice President/General Manager

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