Colts team with Towson for preseason

May 11, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

The Baltimore CFL Colts' search for a preseason home ended yesterday at Towson State, a late entry in the bidding to play host to the Canadian Football League team.

At a news conference this morning, Colts owner Jim Speros will announce that the team has agreed to a one-year contract to hold its first training camp at Towson. Camp will be held May 27-July 3.

"They really wanted us," Speros said of Towson State officials. "They talked about the proximity being less than five miles from Memorial Stadium. My objective was to stay local. I want the fans to learn about the football team and the players. The best way to do it was [to] have training camp here locally."

Speros said Towson State's economic package made the difference against UMBC, which appeared to be the favorite as recently as a week ago. But when the process dragged, UMBC athletic director Charles Brown asked Speros for a decision.

"We called the question [on Monday]," Brown said. "We said, 'Look, either come here or not, we've got to know right away.'

"We were having second thoughts about their coming for logistical reasons as it was getting so late and we have other commitments this summer on campus. But we wish them the best of luck at Towson."

The Colts also considered Goucher College in Towson and Western Maryland in Westminster. Towson was the last school to put in a bid. Two weeks ago, Speros phoned Towson athletic director Bill Hunter to inquire about availability.

"I said I don't think we can do it," Hunter said. "We have the Special Olympics here and youth lacrosse going on. We weren't trying to sell the facility. We were just trying to facilitate their needs."

Speros said the Colts will be able to work around the Special Olympics because they have an exhibition game in Shreveport, La., on June 24. He said he plans to hold a scrimmage on another conflicting date, possibly in York, Pa., or UMBC.

Convenience was a factor, too, Speros said. The Colts will use Towson State's football equipment, including blocking sleds, weight and training rooms. The team's trainer, John Lopez, works at the nearby Towson Sports Medicine clinic, which works with Towson State athletes.

"It's funny how it all fit together," Speros said. "WMAR is right next door, so we've got our TV people up there, too."

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