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Behring Seeks Cleveland-Type Solution to Seahawks' Move

February 23, 1996|T.J. SIMERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Seattle Seahawk owner Ken Behring, a day after meeting with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, said Tagliabue told him he does not want the team to move to Los Angeles because of the agreement Behring and other owners signed a year ago deeding the city's football future to the league.

"Under antitrust, that agreement is illegal," Behring said. "But we don't want to pursue that legally. We're not here to fight and try and get another lawsuit. We want to work something out.

"The NFL has worked out deals before. Why not put the same effort in here as what was put in Cleveland?"

Behring said the NFL might meet with officials in Seattle and suggested a Cleveland-like solution could be accomplished by the three parties coming together.

The NFL has agreed to put a team in Cleveland for the 1999 season to replace the franchise that is moving to Baltimore, and facilitate financing of a new stadium. The new team will retain the Browns' nickname and colors.

"Is there any solution that would have us staying permanently in Seattle?" Behring asked. "I wouldn't know how. I don't think the problem with the Kingdome can be taken care of.

"I would hope people would get sensible and come to the conclusion that the Kingdome is just not a place where we will be able to play. We'll have to wait for the lawsuit to declare that, but if negotiations can bring about something else in the meantime, that would be great."

NFL sources indicate the league will not follow a Cleveland-like course in this situation if Behring expects it to help him break his Kingdome lease. However, if the courts rule in Behring's favor, such a solution might be considered.

Behring, meanwhile, continues to be hounded by suggestions that he sell his team to Seattle billionaire Paul Allen, but said, "It's the last thing I would consider."

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