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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

COMMISSIONER TAGLIABUE PRESS CONFERENCE - LOS ANGELES STADIUM WORKING GROUP

From NFLmedia.com

DALLAS – MAY 2, 2006

We had some very good meetings. All 11 of the owners on the Los Angeles working group were here. We started with an internal discussion last night and met early this morning. We officially began shortly after 8:30am and went until
after 2:00pm. The commitment of time, the interest and the energy of the owners were very good. Most of all, it was a reflection of the quality of the presentations that we had from Anaheim and Los Angeles, in particular the Coliseum.
Both of them gave us a really good overview, not only of the stadium projects, but of the demographics of the immediate fan base and also the overall development of downtown LA and the core of Orange County. Both presentations, which were very high quality, were very informative and really provided the basis for some excellent dialogue. The owners all appreciated not
only Mayor Villaraigosa and Mayor Pringle being here, but also the governor as well. The dialogue when the governor was present focused to some degree on the importance of the business community and having the business communities
be supportive and be committed, making everybody understand the value of an NFL team as an economic engine in the community and also as a community asset.

We also appreciated the Pasadena representatives being here. We had an excellent exchange with them.

The long and short of it is that we have a lot of information to digest. Certainly our staff has been immersed in these issues for the past year or more. But for our owners, this type of first-hand dialogue and first-hand opportunity to speak with political leadership in these communities, including the entire state with the presence of the governor, gives us a lot to digest.

We will be having a conference call with this working group next week to talk about their thoughts and ideas on next steps. We will be meeting with the working group in Denver on Monday, May 22. We will then report to the membership on Tuesday, May 23. We are also going to discuss further with the Pasadena representatives next week and try to understand exactly the status of their proposal, including the ballot initiative. If need be, we will talk more with members of the working group on Pasadena issues separately from our conversation next week on the Los Angeles Coliseum and Anaheim issues.

Q: Will a decision be made on May 23?

PT: That’s what we’re going to be talking about. There is a lot to digest here, not just in terms of projects, but in terms of business community support.

Q: The governor talked about the possibility of having two teams in the market. How realistic is that in the short-term and near future?

PT: If you limit it to the short-term and near future, then one team is our immediate goal. We’d like to have one team in a state-of-the-art stadium, wellsupported both in the short-term and long-term within the community. Longerterm, two teams is a realistic goal.

Q: If there is too much to digest to make a decision soon, where does that leave Anaheim with the upcoming May deadline?

PT: I’m not going to speculate on that.

Q: What stood out in each presentation?

PT: They both emphasized that their stadiums would be very fine NFL football stadiums.

In Anaheim, previously, we shared a baseball stadium. This would not be the case in Anaheim this time. It would be a football stadium located in close proximity to the Angels’ stadium. It would be at the core of a lot of the broader residential and commercial development efforts.

Similar things we’re discussing in respect to the Coliseum. It would be a state-of-the-art stadium, not a retro stadium. They emphasized and highlighted all the investment that’s taken place in downtown LA.

I think both groups did a terrific job of emphasizing the attractiveness of their stadiums and the broader economic developments in the context in which the stadium is being projected. We did have a discussion about costs, which is a
continuing concern. There is a recognition that construction costs have escalated dramatically and will continue to escalate given the worldwide economic pressures that there are for steel, petroleum and everything else that factors into construction costs. Those in turn led to some good discussion on financing, naming rights, PSLs and about the role of the business community being a surrogate, in a sense, for public investment of tax dollars. The business community, as in the case of Carolina and New England, has strongly supported those teams in a variety of ways. So, financing a stadium with private resources, team resources and league resources becomes realistic.

Q: Did each side provide convincing arguments that the costs of each project would be made up in the long run?
PT: Each side clearly understands the challenges and we’ve identified a number of areas to look into. A lot of additional work will have to be done.

Q: What do you think was the biggest accomplishment today?

PT: First of all, uninterrupted four-to-five hours of focused discussion on issues in southern California is an accomplishment. With the expanded group of 11 owners, we had a lot of new, different points of view from Steve Tisch, Jeff Lurie, Bob McNair, Jerry Jones and others who previously weren’t part of the working group. Everyone came away feeling that it was the best time spent on these issues. I felt that having it here, having it in this setting, having it focused with a relatively small group and with a compact group presenting gives us an excellent understanding of these issues.

Q: You’ve always been accused of not wanting to rush…
PT: Nobody has accused me of rushing this issue.

Q: If there is any uncertainty when you get to Denver, will you rush this and move ahead?
PT: I’m not going to get into that. I’m not going to rush, but I want to emphasize that this is the year for us to make a decision, up or down. We’re not going to keep moving sideways.

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Day Three Of Raiders Mini Camp Features - "Seabass" Kicks Ball Into Next Property

This report is from Raiderfan.net, which you can access with a click on the title of this post. As usual "RaiderDee" -- DeMarcus Davis -- gives a good and complete report of Day Three at Oakland Raiders.

"Other notables from today’s camp was Sebastian Janikowski kicking a 42 yard field goal so hard that it not only went through the uprights, it went over the uprights, over the net, and beyond the barrier fence that separates the Raiders facility and the adjacent Oakland International Airport! ‘Seabass’ also successfully kicked a 45 yarder and a 55 yard field goal. He didn’t miss any today. Perhaps it was Coach Shell’s proclamation that the entire team would have to run one lap for every missed field goal by Seabass! Shell informed both Janikowski and the team what the consequences were. To my knowledge, no one has had to run any laps.

Speaking of running laps, there was no making the Rookies run shuttle drills. In years past, rookies would have to run sprints after the last day of mini-camp (Sunday). Coach Shell said that he never made any of his rookies run laps when he coached the first time and that he wasn’t going to while he was coaching this team. Veteran OL Adam Treu had the look of guilty disappointment when the word was given that there was no ‘running of the rookies.’"

Draft '06 review

The 2006 NFL Draft-A Final Review of day 1


Now that the draft is over, we can begin to look at which teams picked who and why.
Most teams are faced with the challenge each year of needing to go beyond selecting the best player available at each position. This was never more obvious then in this year's draft where the Jets used both their first round choices on offensive linemen. But what about teams that make picks that has you scratching your head saying, "Why did they get him for?"

The Packers had many holes to fill, and traded the talented receiver Javon Walker for a #2 pick to Denver, yet they choose LB A.J. Hawk with their #1 selection, the 5th overall. It's quite clear that Green Bay felt they needed more help on the defensive side of the ball, and had been zeroed in on Hawk for over a month. Many considered Hawk the best defensive player in this draft and were it not for Mario Williams' stock rising so fast, could have been a top 3 pick instead of #5. Are two spots a big deal? It’s only worth a few million dollars.

With the two Bay area teams selecting 5 and 6, I'd have loved to have a copy of the Chronicle from Sunday morning to read the rants of Raiders fans griping about the selection of Michael Huff. While Mr. Huff is a fine talent and the top rated DB in this draft class, he went a bit too high at #7. Same for Donte Whitner to the Bills with the next pick, and Ernie Simms to Detroit following at #9.

Rounding out the top 10 was the second major surprise of the draft. Matt Leinart was not the happiest person in Radio city music hall that early afternoon. When he wasn’t selected #3
by the Titans, we knew he would fall. We didn’t think he'd get past the Raiders at #7, but we knew all along that Oakland owner Al Davis never picks QB’s in the first round. The Cardinals are one happy team however, because they got someone who now has something to prove to the 9 teams that passed him up.

The steal of the first round could be Jay Cutler at #11 to Denver. While he played at Vanderbilt, Cutler has a rep as a hard worker who makes things happen. People have begun to make comparisons to Tommy Maddox, who was drafted in John Elway‘s 9th season, as Cutler has been drafted in current Qb Jake Plummer’s 9th season. I can assure you that Cutler is no Maddox.

Others who reaped the benefits of a twisted draft board in the first round:
Dallas obtained OLB Bobby Carpenter with the 18th selection. His bloodline speaks for itself.
New England selected RB Laurence Maroney with the 21st pick. After Bush, Maroney was in a three-way tie as the next best back in this draft.
After the Steelers traded with the Giants to move up seven spots, they selected wide receiver Santonio Holmes. This was the first year in some time that the wide outs didn’t rise up higher in round one. The other two RB’s considered to be in the top of the draft class were also selected late in round one. DeAngelo Williams went to Carolina at #27, and then Joseph Addai became an Indianapolis Colt at #30.
Round two saw 3 receivers and one "slash"type go to teams that all needed to add speed the position. Chad Jackson was considered to be the best wide out in this draft by many.
So much for that train of thought. He went #36(4th in round 2) to New England.
Eight picks later at #44 the Giants obtained Sinorice Moss, the younger brother of Santana Moss, also a Miami Hurricane wide out. Sinorice told us in a telephone press conference last week how happy he was to be coming to a team that wanted him. There was even talk of him being the Giants first pick after the trade down with the Steelers.
Others who did well the rest of day one: The Jets got what could be a steal in Oregon QB Kellen Clemens, who has incredible zip on his passes according to several insiders. Dallas got Notre Dame TE Anthony Fasano. The Ravens selected OC Chris Chester from Oklahoma. Tampa Bay got Jeremy Trueblood, the OT from Boston College.

Finally, some round three selections that made sense: The Cardinals selection of TE Leonard Pope of Georgia, who was thought of as a round one talent. Miami taking Derek Hagan, the Arizona State wide out. San Diego's selection of QB Charlie Whitehurst of Clemson, and Tampa Bay choosing Notre Dame Receiver Maurice Stovall. The Texans tried to get big at the beginning of the 3rd round with back-to-back Offensive Linemen, Charles Spencer of Pitt, and Eric Winston of Miami.

Next: Day two Gems

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