Mixed signals from NFL executive

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! When NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue speaks, people listen. But what they hear can often be worlds apart. On Thursday, Tagliabue held a closed-door meeting with top officials from Los Angeles and then spoke with Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle to hammer out the details on potential lease agreements with the two sites, agreements the commissioner said he would like to have in his hands before the Super Bowl game is played in February. The visibility and forthrightness with which Tagliabue delivered his comments stands in contrast to the slow-motion mating dance that has played out between the NFL and its suitors over the last four years. Time will tell whether the commissioner was signaling a deal is near, or simply trying to stoke excitement about the prospect of pro football’s return. Seen through the prism of Pasadena, where a sharp split exists between NFL supporters and opponents, Tagliabue’s comments were sufficiently fuzzy to give both sides what they want. The fact that Tagliabue did not rule out the Rose Bowl as a potential venue gave local NFL boosters reason to remain hopeful. They have hitched their wagon to an NFL initiative sponsored by Pasadena Councilman Chris Holden to offer the league a 25-year lease to play here. With league owners expected to make a final decision no sooner than March, the initiative effort is full steam ahead, according to Holden. “We have to just keep doing what we are doing,” Holden said Thursday, a reference to the signature drive now under way to trigger a special election. “It is really about getting this deal before the voters and then letting the voters decide.” NFL opponents, however, read Tagliabue’s comments as more evidence that the Rose Bowl is no longer a serious contender – if it ever was. They are urging Holden to abandon his campaign for an NFL ballot initiative and save the time and cost of a expensive political showdown. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4458last_img

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