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POLICY CHANGE CREATES MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS FOR 49ERS

          49ers President Carmen Policy announced his resignation
     yesterday, a move that "leaves a huge void in the front
     office of one of the most successful sports franchises in
     history," according to Ira Miller of the S.F. CHRONICLE.  
     Policy: "Stepping aside is very, very difficult.  It's
     awkward, but it's not impossible" (For more on Policy, see
     (#14).  Miller writes that Policy's "sudden exit raises
     questions not only about the management of the 49ers but
     also about plans to build" a $525M stadium-mall at
     Candlestick Point.  Larry Thrailkill, CEO of the DeBartolo
     Corp., which owns the 49ers, will take over day-to-day
     management of the team on an interim basis.  Thrailkill said
     there is no timetable for hiring a permanent replacement for
     Policy, "but the Nashville lawyer gave little indication
     that he was interested in hanging on to the job himself." 
     Miller reports that Bill Walsh's name "has come up
     repeatedly in speculation as [team co-Owner Eddie]
     DeBartolo's choice."  Thrailkill said that DeBartolo's
     ownership status is still in limbo because of his legal
     problems in LA, but DeBartolo remains "committed" to the
     stadium-mall project and to plans for S.F. to host the 2003
     Super Bowl.  Thrailkill: "We believe we are getting very
     close to the point we can have an announcement how we're
     going to proceed" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23).  In San Jose,
     Michael Martinez reports, "It was clear Policy's resignation
     took the organization by surprise" (S. J. MERCURY NEWS,
     7/23).   Policy, on his legacy: "I'd like my legacy to be
     that I was a problem solver.  I handled stress, I handled
     adversity, and I handled transition in a straightforward,
     intelligent and appropriate way" (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 7/27).
          NOT A DEAL BREAKER: S.F. Mayor Brown said that plans
     for the stadium-mall complex will move forward despite
     Policy's resignation: "I can assure you the project is not
     dead in the water.  The project has been going forward"
     (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23).  Brown, on Policy: "I frankly don't
     know of any other city where the general manager is just as
     well known as the quarterback" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23).  
          THE RETURN OF EDDIE D? In N.Y., Mike Freeman reports
     that many NFL team execs "believe Policy's resignation means
     that DeBartolo no longer fears being indicted and therefore
     wants control of the team again.  Since DeBartolo no longer
     trusts Policy, he wanted Policy gone from the franchise"
     (N.Y. TIMES, 7/23).  Policy: "Eddie and I had a relationship
     that lasted 30 years, one that has been put in a deep freeze
     -- one that has not defrosted over the past few months"
     (Richard Weiner, USA TODAY, 7/23).  In S.F., Matier & Ross
     report that sources close to the family said that "some of
     the hostilities" between DeBartolo and his sister and team
     co-Owner, Denise DeBartolo York, "have dissipated -- leaving
     open the door for the two to eventually resolve their
     differences" (Matier & Ross, S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23).
          REAX: In S.F., columnist Glenn Dickey writes, "Policy
     will land on his feet ... but this is a very sad day for
     49ers fans" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23).  Also in S.F, Ira Miller
     writes that the 49ers "won't ... find someone who can be a
     smoother voice for the organization or present a better
     image than Policy.  Few in sports work a crowd better than
     Policy" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/23).  A CHRONICLE editorial
     states that Policy's departure "is harder to instantly
     measure than the loss of any key player, but it almost
     certainly will be more significant in the long run" (7/23).

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