Shift would end Baltimore's hopes

December 08, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer Staff writer Vito Stellino contributed to this article.

A move by the Washington Redskins to Laurel effectively would end Baltimore's long effort to lure a team back to the city.

Although league bylaws no longer prohibit a team from entering another team's market, neither the league nor another team is likely to set up shop at Camden Yards -- the downtown area city planners have dreamed someday would house both the Orioles and the NFL -- if there is a team at Laurel.

"When you have one team 30 miles away, that's a little rough," said Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who has been trying to lure a team to Baltimore since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

(The Laurel site actually is about 14 miles from Baltimore.)

San Francisco 49ers president Carmen Policy agreed, saying: "Let me put it to you this way. If I were part of the management group running a team and I were looking to move, first of all, I'd be reluctant to move anywhere within 45 miles of another NFL team."

Even a Redskins fan, Howard County Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, could see that this move wouldn't help Baltimore.

"This would conclusively preclude Baltimore from ever getting a team," he said.

Mr. Schaefer said Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke told NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue of the Laurel plan before the owners voted for a second expansion team last week, which Mr. Schaefer says hurt Baltimore's chances.

"I didn't work for nine years for Mr. Cooke all of a sudden to say, 'I'm going to move to Laurel.' We had always gone on the presumption it was going to be in Baltimore. Baltimore. Period."

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