SBD/January 18, 2012/Franchises

Kroenke Won't Commit To Keeping Rams In St. Louis; Team Officially Introduces Jeff Fisher

Kroenke (l) officially introduced Fisher as head coach at a news conference yesterday

Those looking for "reassurances about the Rams' long-term viability in St. Louis got none Tuesday from club owner Stan Kroenke," according to Jim Thomas of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. With the stadium lease issue "looming at the Edward Jones Dome, Kroenke was asked about the potential relocation of the franchise" at coach Jeff Fisher's introductory news conference yesterday. Kroenke said, "I think this is all out there. The chronology of what occurs with the lease is public knowledge. I think for me to comment on that process is particularly (un)timely. The city, or the (stadium) authority, they're dealing with their side of it. And they present a proposal to us by Feb. 1." He added, "There's a team in place that deals with all that. So we'll see how that process sorts itself out. But it's a thing that takes place over time." Thomas notes if the dome is "not deemed a 'first-tier' facility -- or among the top eight stadiums in the NFL -- the Rams are free to leave St. Louis following the 2014 season." Thomas: "What Rams fans want to know is, does Kroenke plan to be here for another 20 years?" Kroenke said, "We'll see how that process works out." He added, "Contrary to a lot of reports, I haven't taken a lot of 'jack' out of the market. I think that's what's reported. I have put a lot of 'jack' into the market" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/18). 

DAWN OF A NEW ERA: In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes the hiring of Fisher "could finally be the sort of news conference that does actually lead to championships rather than just another depressing semi-annual Q&A session with the local media." Burwell: "This is a head coach who walks in the room with that undeniable aura of importance and substance. ... You want to know who's in charge now at Rams Park? His name is Jeff Fisher. No question" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/18). The POST-DISPATCH's Thomas notes after signing his five-year contract, Fisher "quickly identified two main factors that would lead him to his next job." Fisher: "One was a good owner, and the other was a quarterback. ... My decision was very, very simple. It was based on the vision, the collective vision shared by Stan and [Exec VP/Football Operations & COO] Kevin [Demoff] as far as the future of the franchise." Fisher said yesterday that the "non-economic issues were more important than his salary in making his decision between" coaching the Dolphins and the Rams (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/18).

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