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AS DAVIS COURTS POTENTIAL SUITORS, COLISEUM LOOKS ELSEWHERE
Published April 6, 1995
The L.A. Coliseum Commission voted Wednesday to begin construction on a new $5.6M press box that will be paid for with federal funds. However, while lack of additional funding would keep the stadium from adding luxury suites ready for '95, Don Webb, director of the Coliseum renovation project, says there are "promising" signs the facility could receive financing to build the first 21 suites within eight weeks (Kenneth Reich, L.A. TIMES, 4/6). MIND GAMES? Just what (if any) team might play in the facility next season is a larger question. Al Davis' Raiders do not have a lease with the Coliseum, which they have called home since '82. Davis has not told the league where he will be playing next season, but Baltimore and Oakland have been mentioned as possibilities. One NFL source told the Baltimore SUN's Jon Morgan that Davis tried last year to get the league to tentatively schedule Raiders home games at several sites and then allow the team to make a decision on where to play later. The league refused, according to the source: "This is Al's way of sending the message that he's thinking of moving" (Baltimore SUN, 4/6). BENGALS OR RAMS? Coliseum Commission member Sheldon Sloan says his group has talked to the Raiders and "at least two other teams" about playing in the facility in '95. Sloan would neither confirm or deny if he was referring to the Rams or Bengals, the only NFL teams without a binding lease for '95. Rams President John Shaw has said Coliseum officials have contacted him about playing in L.A. for the '95 season. Sloan says he would like to have the Rams return: "We'd be willing to talk about an interim (agreement). We're willing to talk about all kinds of things" (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/6). In Cincinnati, Bengals GM Mike Brown says he has not spoken with anyone about playing in L.A., and Bengals Secretary/ Treasurer Katie Blackburn also denied the rumors: "We haven't talked to them. We're trying to get things done here" (Geoff Hobson, CINCINNATI ENQURIER, 4/6). TROJANS MAY BE SECURE: USC AD Mike Garrett has sent a letter to the commission confirming that USC will sign a long- term lease with the Coliseum once suite construction begins (Kenneth Reich, L.A. TIMES, 4/6).