Popp mulls offer from Memphis

January 26, 1995|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Jim Popp, director of player personnel for Baltimore's Canadian Football League team, has been offered a job as assistant general manager with Memphis' expansion team and will make a decision soon, he said last night.

"My decision will be based strictly on what's best for my career, nothing else," said Popp, who played a significant role in stocking Baltimore's first-year roster.

"I'm not going to put this franchise or any franchise in a predicament. I want to make a decision as soon as I can. I like this organization, I like working for [coach] Don Matthews and [owner] Jim Speros."

If he opts for Memphis, Popp, 30, isn't likely to announce he's leaving before league meetings in Edmonton tomorrow. That's when the board of governors formally will award an expansion team to Memphis.

Timing is critical to both teams because Feb. 15 marks the beginning of the free-agent signing period. Matthews has promised Baltimore will be "aggressive" with free agents.

Speros said he doesn't want to lose Popp and is prepared to make adjustments -- like job title -- if necessary. Popp would head the personnel department in Memphis.

"If he wants an assistant general manager position, I'm in favor of doing it," Speros said. "I'm in the process of accommodating his needs. Jim Popp has been very instrumental to our organization. . . . I expect him to be with us."

In Memphis yesterday, team owner Fred Smith confirmed speculation that team president Pepper Rodgers also would be the head coach. At a news briefing, Rodgers said he had offered a job to Popp.

In other news:

* Baltimore is expected to name Ottawa assistant Charlie Carpenter its new offensive line coach. Carpenter served in that capacity with the Rough Riders last season, and with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the two previous seasons.

* The CFL management council made a recommendation yesterday for the top three teams in each division, plus two wild cards, to qualify for the playoffs.

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