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PATRIOTS' KRAFT MEETS WITH RI EXECS BUT DEAL NOT DONE
Published September 22, 1997
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).