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THE NFL / WEEK 2

Times Nfl Writer T.j. Simers Poses--and Answers--the Burning Questions On : Game Day

September 07, 1997

Question: It will take 23 NFL owners to vote in favor of expansion for Los Angeles to have the opportunity to witness football in person once again, and it probably will come in a package deal with Cleveland, but what are the chances of getting the required number of votes?

Answer: None, if you listen to Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones.

Just enough, if you go with the opinion of Ram President John Shaw.

Forget it, says New York Giant co-owner Bob Tisch.

The NFL must give an existing team or an expansion team to Cleveland in time for the 1999 season. If Cleveland gets an expansion team, that will be L.A.'s best chance for football again.

"I think if you took the vote today, it would be 15 for an expansion team and 15 for relocation," Tisch said.

Jones said he thinks an existing franchise will move to Los Angeles, ruling out expansion at this time.

Shaw, meanwhile, said stability will force the league to fill the Cleveland void via expansion, and said he can see the NFL returning to Los Angeles as early as 2000.

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Q: Why is Georgia Frontiere preparing for another shopping spree?

A: The NFL has a court date with the city of St. Louis in early October, and some insiders are suggesting St. Louis could be awarded more than $100 million in a federal antitrust lawsuit with the league.

St. Louis is claiming it was treated unfairly when the NFL hit it with a $29-million relocation fee after the Rams' move from Anaheim and did not charge the Raiders when they moved to Oakland.

Shaw, who put the deal together for the Rams, found a loophole in the St. Louis lease with the Rams and in exchange for not exercising an escape clause, Shaw bought half of any lawsuit settlement from St. Louis.

St. Louis told the NFL it would consider settling the case if awarded a Super Bowl, but the NFL rejected that offer.

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Q: How will rookie Jim Druckenmiller do in his debut?

A: Probably terribly. Druckenmiller completed 19 of 34 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown in exhibitions. But now he will be going up against Bud Carson's defense in St. Louis, and Carson is famous for throwing complicated defenses at quarterbacks, a daunting task for a young man with no sure-fire wide receivers to bail him out.

Backup quarterback Jeff Brohm will sit out the game because of a broken finger and sore back, leaving kick returner Chuck Levy as the team's emergency quarterback. Levy played quarterback at the University of Arizona and said he lined up over center and pitched to Ronald Moore on a successful two-point conversion play in 1994 while with the Arizona Cardinals.

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Q: How's Randall Cunningham doing so far?

A: Minnesota is asking Cunningham to work as its punter.

Mitch Berger, the Vikings' regular punter, has a torn hip tendon, so quarterback Cunningham has taken over, averaging 42.5 yards in four punts, including a 65-yarder that had the crowd cheering.

"You play in the league 11 years as a quarterback and I come back for my 12th year and they say, 'OK, go out there and punt,' " Cunningham said. "That is so funny to me."

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Q: Whom does Emmitt Smith like?

A: Smith has scored 115 touchdowns in his career and has kept all but four of the balls, giving one each to safety Bill Bates, cornerback Kevin Smith, former tight end Alfredo Roberts and a military veteran from Anchorage.

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