Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tagliabue Says D-Day Could Be Moved to Nov. 12

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tagliabue Says D-Day Could Be Moved to Nov. 12

Article excerpt

The meeting to select the 30th NFL franchise could be moved from Nov. 30 to perhaps Nov. 12, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Wednesday.

St. Louis, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn., are competing for the expansion franchise.

On Tuesday, the National Football League awarded the 29th franchise to the Carolina Panthers, owned by Richardson Sports. Ex-Baltimore Colt Jerry Richardson is the managing partner.

It was expected that a second expansion team also would be named Tuesday, but NFL owners put off that decision until Nov. 30.

Discussions among league officials and the 28 owners about rescheduling the November meeting reportedly were precipitated by comments made by J. Wayne Weaver, majority owner of Touchdown Jacksonville! Ltd.

Weaver talked to Tagliabue on Wednesday morning. He said he encouraged the commissioner to "speed up the process."

When Tagliabue was asked at a news conference Wednesday evening about moving the meeting to Nov. 12, he said only that the league reserves the right to change the date.

Weaver was visibly upset Tuesday night after the league failed to award both expansion franchises.

He said he interpreted the delay to work in St. Louis' favor by giving the newly formed Gateway Partnership time to stabilize.

Weaver promised to seek out Tagliabue and NFL President Neil Austrian to demand expansion procedure accountability.

"What will they know by Nov. 30 that they don't know tonight?" Weaver said after Tuesday's announcement. "I hope Tagliabue and (Austrian) can shed some light on that."

It was thought for a time Wednesday that Weaver had called a news conference in Jacksonville to announce that his organization would disband for the second time in six months.

Touchdown Jacksonville! pulled out of the expansion race in August, when it could not reach an agreement with the city over renovations to the Gator Bowl.

The city subsequently revised its offer, and Touchdown Jacksonville! was back in business.

Weaver said that Touchdown Jacksonville! …

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