Rams' 15-month window of escape opens on May 3

January 07, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

The clock will start ticking for the Los Angeles Rams in Anaheim on May 3. That's the date the Rams will invoke the 15-month escape clause in their lease, the team told the Anaheim City Council yesterday.

That means the team will be free to play in another city on Aug. 3, 1995, in time for the start of the exhibition season that year.

But the Rams' announcement was far from a commitment to move.

The Rams downplayed the announcement and no club official was available for comment.

At the start of the four-paragraph announcement, the team said it was notifying the city of Anaheim of its intention to invoke the clause to "allow the Rams the opportunity to fully explore the economic viability of staying in Southern California."

The letter said the team has three options: staying in Anaheim; moving to another venue in Southern California; and moving elsewhere.

The announcement, which said "no decision has been made to leave Anaheim Stadium," pointed out the Rams could revoke the 15-month notice at any time, and that the team has not begun negotiations with any other city.

Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said he has had no negotiations with the Rams, but expects talks to take place now that the Rams have given notice to the city of Anaheim.

But Baltimore won't be the Rams' only suitor. According to today's Los Angeles Daily News, Pasadena officials will offer the Rose Bowl as a potential home and Los Angeles officials want to explore moving the team back to the Memorial Coliseum, current home of the Raiders.

If the Rams decide to move, the other NFL owners can vote against it, but it's uncertain if a rejection would be upheld legally. Raiders owner Al Davis won a court fight to move from Oakland in 1982.

The Rams also didn't specify what cities they might be interested in moving to, although Baltimore is thought to be the team's top choice.

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