Clancy in NFL hunt?

February 19, 1994|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Mark Hyman contributed to this story.

Novelist and Orioles part-owner Tom Clancy is considering joining Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos in a bid to buy an NFL franchise and move it next door to their team's baseball stadium.

"Peter and I have talked about it, and we are thinking about it," Clancy said.

Clancy, a childhood fan of the Baltimore Colts, once led a group seeking an expansion team for the city. More recently, he headed a group that bid for the New England Patriots, intending to move them to Hartford, Conn., despite a rival bid filed by some Baltimore investors.

The Patriots were sold to a Boston-based group last month.

Clancy, the author of a string of best-selling thrillers, including "The Hunt for Red October" and "Patriot Games," grew up in Baltimore and attended Loyola College. He now lives on an estate in Calvert County, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

Last year, he became a part-owner of the Orioles, and is the second-largest investor in the group controlled by Angelos. He said the two have not decided what their respective roles would be in a group owning an NFL team, which would play in a proposed publicly financed stadium at Camden Yards.

"My interest is the same as Peter's. We both would like to see NFL back in Baltimore," Clancy said. He said he did not know how realistic the chances of getting a team are.

Angelos is in contact with two teams: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams, according to sources familiar with those talks. The Buccaneers are owned by Hugh Culverhouse, who has terminal cancer and whose family does not want to continue in football.

Team officials deny the club is for sale, but several sources say there are talks under way between the team and Angelos, and that the franchise's price could top $200 million.

Angelos is also in contact with the Rams about buying a portion of that team, despite suggestions from the Rams that they will not discuss selling until after May, sources said. That is when they have said they will issue the notice of intent to move required under the terms of their lease with the city-owned Anaheim Stadium.

Angelos has declined to comment on the status of any of the negotiations, or even to confirm the teams involved. But yesterday, he saidClancy was among a few potential investors he has talked to.

"I was inviting his participation," Angelos said. "He is an excellent partner in the Orioles ownership and a close friend at this point. His involvement would be a real plus, as it is in the Orioles organization."

He said Clancy would be "one of a limited group" of investors.

Another local group of investors, represented by attorney Robert B. Schulman, also has contacted the teams, according to one source. "We've been very active, and we've been talking to a lot of people," Schulman said, declining to confirm the teams involved.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer also has spoken with Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis about moving his team here.

Other cities, including St. Louis, Toronto, Memphis, Tenn., and Oakland, Calif., also are pursuing teams.

Meanwhile, Rams executive vice president John Shaw this week acknowledged team owner Georgia Frontiere's interest in selling portion of the franchise.

In an interview with the Orange County Register, Shaw said Frontiere did not want to sell a controlling interest in the team, but would sell partial interests to local investors trying to keep the team in town or to out-of-town investors trying to get the team to move.

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