Speros says NFL isn't likely here

CFL NOTEBOOK

September 04, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Jim Speros, the general partner of Baltimore's Canadian Football League team, doesn't see an NFL team in Baltimore's future.

But if he did, he would want to be part of it.

"If I really thought, with the momentum we have going, that an NFL team could be moved, I'd certainly take a look at it myself," Speros said.

Speros says his "contacts" insist that city officials will not be able to lure either the Los Angeles Rams or Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Baltimore. He has not talked with Peter Angelos, the Orioles owner who is spearheading the NFL drive, about those efforts.

"I respect Mr. Angelos and what he's trying to do," Speros said. "But can he operate a football team any better than I do? I don't think so.

"I only worry about things I can control. We have a football team that's successful. We'll keep building on that success. My opinion is, I don't think there's even a chance of [the Bucs] leaving Tampa, Fla."

On his bid to regain the Colts name, Speros said he is encouraged that U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson has set a Sept. 12 hearing date on his renewed motion for a trial in Baltimore.

"I'm doing exactly what I said I was going to do," Speros said. "We're exploring every reasonable avenue."

Missing time

If Baltimore quarterback Tracy Ham plays Saturday against Sacramento, he will have missed considerably less time with a torn quadriceps muscle than two other prominent offensive players in the CFL.

Ottawa's Michael Richardson, who led the CFL in rushing the last two years, tore his quad in Week 2. He's missed seven games but is expected to return next week.

Then there's Sacramento running back Mike Oliphant, a former Washington Redskin. Oliphant tore a quad on July 23 and has missed six games.

Ham suffered a slight tear of his right quad in Week 7, then came back to play three quarters against Hamilton last week after John Congemi was injured.

Marathon man

Arnold Epstein, a marketing representative who handles Baltimore's travel accommodations, can be seen on any given Saturday walking to the stadium where the team plays.

Epstein is not permitted to travel by vehicle on the Jewish Sabbath. That meant a 16-mile, four-hour walk from the CFLs' hotel in Burlington, Ontario, to Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton a week ago. And it meant a seven-mile trek yesterday from the hotel in Shreveport to Independence Stadium.

Epstein, who stays in shape by playing tennis regularly, is able to return with the team by bus and plane after sundown on Saturdays.

Letdown proof

Baltimore coach Don Matthews, whose team was a 15-point favorite against Shreveport last night, discounts the notion of letdowns against lesser opponents. That's what he told the team before leaving for Louisiana.

"I asked if they would play any differently against Shreveport or against Calgary in the Grey Cup," Matthews said. "I pointed out that this is the game of the week. When they cross the stripe, I expect them to play 100 percent. . . . This is not a game where you can relax."

The big turnover

In Week 9, there are only 19 Shreveport players left from the team's opening-day lineup. The Pirates have gone through players at a furious rate, last week jettisoning quarterbacks Terrence Jones and Tom Muecke, who between them had started every game.

Jones and Muecke were cut before the CFL's Sept. 1 deadline that would have guaranteed the contracts of both players.

The Pirates had trade talks with the Toronto Argonauts last week about Reggie Slack and Mike Kerrigan, but backed off when the Argos asked for either Joe Fuler or Joe Mero, both defensive backs.

"As a coach, you have to look for the right combination," coach Forrest Gregg said. "We think we're close, and we're just trying to find the right person at a position that can make some impact. Why shouldn't we keep looking? We've played eight games and haven't won anything."

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