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PATRIOT GAMES? HARTFORD DOWNPLAYS KRAFT/TAGLIABUE MEETING

          Those familiar with talks that took place between
     Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
     and CT Gov. John Rowland concerning a new domed stadium in
     Hartford say the proposal for the 35,000-seat stadium "does
     not meet league guidelines for a professional facility,"
     according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE.  However, the
     project "could be changed to accommodate" the Patriots'
     requirements.  A team spokesperson declined comment on the
     meeting, which Cassidy writes "comes at a politically
     sensitive time for the Patriots," since the MA legislature
     will recess July 31, "effectively killing the Foxboro
     Stadium bills that have stalled on Beacon Hill" (BOSTON
     GLOBE, 6/2).  Rowland termed the meeting a "research
     project," adding, "We've basically been trying to get as
     much input as we can across the board, but there's no reason
     to speculate on any possibility of a team coming to
     Connecticut."  Rowland, on Tagliabue's presence: "We're
     picking his brain about other possible uses."  MA State
     Senator William Keating (D-Foxboro) said yesterday that if
     his state takes no action by July 31, "I'm confident we'll
     see [the Patriots] leave" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/2).  In
     Hartford, Jeff Jacobs writes that Kraft "must be aware that
     we refuse to be made pawns in his elaborate chess game to
     get a stadium built" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/2).

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