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ARE PATRIOTS GETTING COLD FEET OVER RI DEAL DEADLINE?
Published September 18, 1997
A "planned negotiating session" between RI Gov. Lincoln Almond's administration and the Patriots "fizzled yesterday amid signs of tension, but Almond nonetheless said he is sticking to his deadline of tomorrow to cut a Providence stadium deal," according to Christopher Rowland of the Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN. Almond did not say what would happen if the deadline passes with no deal, but the Patriots said that "they were not going to rush their deliberations." Sources familiar with the talks said that the Patriots "were frustrated by Almond's public call" for team Owner Robert Kraft to sign a "memorandum of understanding" by Friday. The team "has expressed discomfort" with Almond's request that they "commit" to RI "and not entertain competing offer" from MA (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/18). IN BOSTON: If Kraft moves the team, "there apparently will be no hue and cry on Beacon Hill, and certainly far less than there was when he tried to relocate the team to South Boston," according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE in a front-page analysis of the team's stadium saga. One individual involved in the talks said a RI deal is "very realistic, both in terms of deal structure and in terms of timing." The individual added Foxboro officials "can't get their act together ... Rhode Island is way ahead of them. Kraft preferred to stay in [Foxboro], but saw no momentum or energy being created." The GLOBE's Cassidy adds that Kraft "is now considering" bringing NASCAR racing to Foxboro to replace the team (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). A GLOBE editorial calls for MA Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci to "get behind a proposal that combines state aid" with the Foxboro plan (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). GLOBE media writer Howard Manly notes a move would have the team leaving the sixth-largest media market, with two million TV households, to the 46th-largest with about 600,000 TV households (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).