Schaefer targets 4 NFL teams

February 25, 1994|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Gov. William Donald Schaefer said yesterday that the list of NFL franchises that might be brought to Baltimore has grown to four.

"There are four teams. Not kidding you. Four teams. Some in higher activities than others," Schaefer said yesterday.

He declined to identify the clubs involved, but several sources said reports have surfaced that the Seattle Seahawks could join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams and Raiders as potential relocation targets.

Peter G. Angelos is aware of the reports of the Seahawks, according to a source familiar with his bids for a Baltimore football team. Angelos owns the Orioles, but has been leading an effort on behalf of Schaefer to lure an NFL team to town.

Seahawks spokesman Gary Wright said: "To my knowledge we are not for sale. Everything I hear is that they are very happy owning the team and are not looking to move." The team is owned by California businessmen Ken Hoffman and Ken Behring.

Angelos declined to comment, other than to say, "We are moving ineach and every direction where we feel a team may be available for Baltimore."

Some NFL officials, including Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, warn that the city could be getting its hopes up needlessly. "They [the NFL] will not go to a city that is almost static. They will go to a city that is burgeoning," Mr. Cooke said in an interview earlier this week.

Meanwhile, there were indications that talks between Angelos and the Buccaneers may have hit a lull. Angelos has been in contact with the club for several weeks, offering prices as high as $200 million if the team is first moved to Baltimore, according to sources.

The club has balked at the terms of the offer and requested a $10 million, non-refundable deposit to negotiate, sources said. "The team has not rejected it, but has said no," one source said, saying the offer remains on the table.

Meanwhile, the Bucs released a statement yesterday denying the team was talking to Angelos.

"As long as there are cities like Baltimore that remain persistent in their desire to be part of the NFL, there will be rumors about teams being sought for relocation. We understand that the Buccaneers are on that list of teams," the club said.

"The team is not for sale, we are not receiving offers and there are no negotiations ongoing or contemplated," the statement said.

Bucs spokesman Rick Odioso said yesterday, "I have a sense that the Baltimore people have continued to put their offers forward, but I don't think anything is going on."

One industry source not connected with Angelos or the Bucanneers, however, said club executives acknowledge receiving inquiries from investors in several cities and feel compelled to listen to bona fide offers.

"They are making a distinction between talking and listening. They are listening," the source said.

Representatives of Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, who has cancer, have announced that the team will be sold upon his death. But some investors, including Angelos, have pressed for a sale.

Working against an immediate deal is that the sale of the team now would produce double taxation: capital gains taxes would be paid upon the sale, and the proceeds would be taxed as part of the estate upon the owner's death.

Angelos is studying the legal issues related to moving the Bucs, while shifting part of his focus to the Rams and the chances of buying a part interest in that team and moving it here, according to sources familiar with those talks.

The Rams have said publicly that they would consider selling a part interest in the club, including to investors in Baltimore or St. Louis willing to move the team.

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