The family of the late Roy Disney has partnered with Shamrock Holdings President & CEO Stanley Gold, "entrusting the man who runs the family investment firm to lead the charge for the Dodgers and try to restore prominent local ownership to the team," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Sources said that Gold is "in discussions with potential investors." Forbes indicated that Roy Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, "had a net worth of $1.4 billion in 2007." The "current net worth of the Roy Disney family is unclear." The Disney family "would hold the Dodgers as a private investment" (L.A. TIMES, 1/8). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman noted Gold, long a "major figure in the Los Angeles business world," has "signed a nondisclosure agreement that clears the way for him to bid" for the Dodgers (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/7). Meanwhile, the L.A. TIMES' Shaikin cited sources as saying that L.A.-based Ares Capital co-Founder & Managing Partner Tony Ressler "has expressed interest in pursuing the Dodgers." Ressler was a "minority investor in the ownership group that bought" the Brewers in '05 (L.A. TIMES, 1/8). ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne cited a source as saying that Blackstone Group, the investment firm handling the sale of the Dodgers, has "begun scheduling tours of Dodger Stadium with prospective ownership groups." However, tour opportunities are "only being offered to groups that the Blackstone Group considers serious at this point" (ESPNLA.com, 1/6).
Packers Dir of Football Operations Reggie McKenzie agreed to terms to become the Raiders' GM Friday, and is "expected to start as soon as his contract is finalized, rather than wait until" the Packers complete their '11 season, according to Jerry McDonald of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. A news conference introducing McKenzie will be held tomorrow. McKenzie, a former Raiders LB, "arrived with the endorsement of former Raiders executive Ron Wolf as well as Ken Herock, a former Raiders player who later worked in the front office and has been in an advisory capacity on site since Al Davis died Oct. 8." Whether McKenzie's arrival has "any impact on the job security of coach Hue Jackson is an open question" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/7). In Milwaukee, Bob McGinn cited sources as saying that McKenzie was "given full authority over every aspect of the Raiders' football operation, including the firing and hiring of the head coach." One source said that the business side of the franchise will be "handled by chief executive Amy Trask, who begins her 25th year in Oakland." It is "highly unlikely McKenzie would have taken the job without the power that Ron Wolf and [Packers GM Ted] Thompson enjoyed in Green Bay" (JSONLINE.com, 1/6). ESPN's Chris Mortensen cited sources as indicating that McKenzie could part ways with Jackson "despite denials by agent Kennard McGuire, who represents both men." Sources said that McKenzie is "contemplating whether it is wise to bring in his own coach despite the relationship with Jackson" ("Sunday NFL Countdown," ESPN, 1/7). In S.F., Vittorio Tafur noted Raiders Owner Mark Davis "along with former Raiders head coach John Madden interviewed McKenzie on Wednesday." There had been "speculation that Wolf's son, Eliot, would follow McKenzie to the Raiders, but the Packers are expected to promote the assistant director of player personnel to McKenzie's old job" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/7).
NICE FIRST MOVE: CSNBayArea.com’s Paul Gutierrez said the hiring of McKenzie “is on” Davis, and “this shows just how fast, how decisive he made his first real move as owner of the Raiders." Gutierrez: "It seems like a slam dunk hire right now.” San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami said the “strong part about this is that Mark Davis -- he didn't dither, he didn't wonder, he didn't interview 15 people, he didn't go back and forth.” Kawakami: “The swiftness of this does tell us that Mark Davis had … a plan going in and is executing it, and that's a little bit better than maybe some people would have expected" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 1/6).
Packers VP/Administration & General Counsel Jason Wied “resigned Friday,” according to Rob Demovsky of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. Wied had been “on a leave of absence for what was described as personal reasons since early November.” He said that he “entered a treatment center on Nov. 7 after he developed an addiction to one of the herbal remedies he had been using to treat sleep apnea and insomnia, something he has dealt with for several years.” The herbal remedy “was believed to be a legal but addictive substance.” After spending “40 days in a treatment center, Wied decided to resign but waited until after the regular season ended to inform” team President & CEO Mark Murphy. Demovsky noted in April '07, then-team president & CEO Bob Harlan “promoted Wied to vice president of administration/corporate counsel” and later that year, Wied “was a finalist to replace Harlan, although the job went to Murphy” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZZETTE, 1/7). In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Wied was involved with the NFL “during negotiations on a new contract with players and during the lockout.” Wied aided in the efforts “to develop Lambeau Field and to purchase property near the stadium.” The Packers organization has been working on a “possible new development west and south of the stadium and Wied was a key player behind the scenes.” He also “served as point man in the organization’s dealings with the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District” (JSONLINE.com 1/6).
MORE MOVES: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty noted Packers Dir of Football Operations Reggie McKenzie’s decision to leave the team to become the Raiders GM will “disrupt the stability that has marked the Green Bay Packers’ front office the last several years.” He had been with the Packers “since 1994, and as their lone director-football operations the last two years as General Manager Ted Thompson’s top personnel adviser.” The move leaves “a temporary void near the top of the Packers’ front office and raises questions about which scouts McKenzie might take with him to the Raiders.” Several media reports have “mentioned Eliot Wolf, who is a Packers assistant director of player personnel, but there’s a good chance Thompson will promote Wolf to replace McKenzie.” A source said that McKenzie was believed to be “among or possibly even the highest-paid personnel executive in the league who’s not a GM, with a salary estimated between $500,000 and $700,000” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/7).
In Boston, Young & Bedard cite a source as saying that the Colts "formally requested permission from the Patriots to interview New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio," but Caserio "declined, choosing to stay with the Patriots." Colts Owner Jim Irsay yesterday on Twitter said that the team "will interview seven candidates for the job," but Young & Bedard note Irsay "did not say who they will be." When ESPN's Adam Schefter later tweeted the "first candidate the Colts tried to hire was ... Nick Caserio," Irsay "took umbrage with the report, and called him out in a string of tweets." Irsay wrote, "I haven’t interviewed (anyone) . . . Adam, don’t say I wanted to hire someone I never talked to or met . . . MISLEADING.’’ Schefter responded by saying the NFL told him that Colts General Counsel Daniel Emerson "emailed request for Nick Cesario (sic) on Tues before he opted to stay in NE’’ (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9).
DARKHORSE IN THE RACE: The GLOBE & MAIL reported Irsay "has tabbed Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp as a darkhorse candidate to become" the team's next GM. In a series of tweets Friday, Irsay said that the "search for a new GM was 'going very well.'" Irsay then "challenged his followers to identify this dark horse candidate, Jim (blank) out of Canada." Irsay later wrote, "Jim Popp! Look at this man's accomplishments! Does he deserve NFL shot or not a good fit in NFL??" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/7). Meanwhile, in Boston, Greg Bedard wrote he feels bad for Colts former VP & GM Chris Polian, son of former Colts Vice Chair Bill Polian. Chris is "very bright, but he's going to be tarred with this mess." That is "unfair, but that's what happens when the sons of powerful men don't make names for themselves on their own" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/8).
NOT GOING ANYWHERE: In Baltimore, Vensel & Zrebiec noted the Ravens announced Friday that Dir of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, "who was being pursued by at least three NFL teams that are currently searching for a new general manager, 'will continue with the team and is not going to interview with other teams.'" DeCosta said previously that it "would take an ideal job opportunity for him to leave the Ravens, who view him as the eventual successor to longtime general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome." DeCosta has been with the Ravens "from the beginning, starting at an entry-level position in 1996" (Baltimore SUN, 1/7).
CATCH-22: In Ft. Lauderdale, Omar Kelly wrote Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross "will either land Jeff Fisher as his franchise's next coach," or he will "lose Fisher" to the Rams. In the end, he "will come off looking like a hero or a loser," and there "is no in between on this one." No matter "what happens -- Ross raises the offer or lets Fisher walk -- either way Ross will come off looking desperate, and that’s not a good look, especially since its one we saw last season when a courtship of Jim Harbaugh left him and South Florida embarrassed." Kelly: "What fans should realize is that there’s an owner in place who is doing everything in his power to turn this franchise’s course, getting the ship headed in the right direction. You wanted the best available coach and that’s what the Dolphins targeted. I’d rather have that kind of owner than one like Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, who didn’t even want to get in the ring" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/8).