Schaefer's Rams hopes take hit

September 23, 1994|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Despite the intervention of Baltimore's other biggest booster -- former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer said a recent meeting with Los Angeles Rams officials left him less optimistic that the team will move to Baltimore.

"I didn't leave with any more encouragement than when I left here. I'm not as optimistic as when I left," Schaefer said yesterday.

Schaefer, during remarks to reporters and in his weekly radio show, also said he's not giving up the effort. These were his first public comments since returning from a West Coast trip, which included a visit with Rams officials Sunday.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who is trying to buy a minority stake in the Rams and move them here, arranged and attended the meeting.

Angelos said he did not come away from the meeting any less optimistic, but acknowledged the Rams have concerns about a Baltimore move.

"I think there were certain concerns raised regarding litigation, but these are concerns raised whenever a franchise movement is contemplated. I think the economics we are offering will overcome those concerns," Angelos said.

On Monday, Angelos met with Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis, who thwarted the league when he moved the team from Oakland over the objections of the other owners. Angelos said he was seeking the support and advice of Davis.

"He was very helpful and hospitable," said Angelos, who remains confident the Rams are Baltimore-bound.

A spokesman for the Raiders declined to discuss the meeting.

Meanwhile, Braman, who sold his team this year, is a friend of Rams executive vice president John Shaw and called him in advance of the governor's meeting to encourage him to consider moving to Baltimore, Schaefer said.

"There are a whole lot of obstacles," Schaefer said. Among the problems he cited: opposition to Baltimore from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke.

"The Rams know that Baltimore would be a great market, but you've got a Marylander against us: Mr. Tagliabue," Schaefer said. Tagliabue lived in the Washington suburbs of Maryland before becoming commissioner.

Schaefer said the team attorneys at Sunday's dinner meeting cited a number of contingencies that could arise with a move to Baltimore -- some of which would not be a factor in a move to St. Louis, another city trying to lure the team.

"St. Louis is our main rival, and Tagliabue supports them over us," Schaefer said.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello denied the commissioner has worked against Baltimore. "He doesn't have a preference," Aiello said.

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