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PATRIOTS' KRAFT MEETS WITH RI EXECS BUT DEAL NOT DONE

          Patriots Owner Robert Kraft was "noncommittal" when
     asked yesterday about the team's chances of moving to RI,
     according to Tom Mooney of the Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN. 
     Kraft: "It isn't about Massachusetts versus Rhode Island. 
     It's about getting a venue to allow this team to stay in New
     England for the next two or three decades."  Aides to RI
     Gov. Lincoln Almond met with team reps yesterday and talks
     are to resume today.  Patriots VP/Communications Don Lowery
     said talks with RI should be concluded "in a few days"
     (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/22).  NBC's Will McDonough reported
     that his sources "expect an announcement sometime within the
     next two weeks" that the Patriots will move to RI ("NFL on
     NBC," NBC, 9/21).  Kraft and his son, Jonathan, met with RI
     leaders "for almost six hours" on Friday and were reportedly
     "very near to an agreement" for a $250M facility, according
     to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE.  But Cassidy added that
     Kraft "was apparently trying to keep his options open" and
     give MA "another shot at keeping" the team in Foxboro.  A
     Patriots exec met with Foxboro officials for "several hours"
     on Friday to discuss a bill for a new or renovated stadium
     in Foxboro (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/20).  In Providence, Scott
     MacKay reported that both Providence and Foxboro officials
     said that Kraft was "not using the negotiations to squeeze a
     better financial deal out of whichever location he chooses"
     (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/21).  But on Sunday, Flint & Cassidy
     reported that as team and state execs "continued yesterday
     to negotiate," some "suggest that Kraft risks alienating
     even an open-minded community by keeping the" $250M deal
     "behind closed doors for too long" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21).

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