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Tagliabue Plans a Trip to the Coast

Commissioner to meet with Schwarzenegger, Villaraigosa, Pringle and Carroll this week to assess stadium progress.

November 08, 2005|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will meet with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and USC football Coach Pete Carroll in a whirlwind midweek visit to Southern California, the league announced Monday.

Tagliabue's trip west is not expected to produce a definitive announcement about the future of the NFL in the Los Angeles area, which has been without pro football since after the 1994 season. League spokesman Greg Aiello said, "The purpose of the trip is to discuss progress and the next steps on our stadium development plans."

With NFL owners preparing for meetings next week in Kansas City, Tagliabue's West Coast dash sets the stage for the league to lay out a more definitive timetable as it weighs stadium alternatives at the Coliseum and Anaheim. The meeting with Schwarzenegger is to take place Wednesday afternoon; the others are Thursday.

Also, with the next regularly scheduled league meetings set for March, and with the league's focus elsewhere -- on the fate of a new collective bargaining deal with players and on various formulas by which owners share revenue -- the trip also serves to keep interest in the L.A. market alive, in Southern California and in the league's New York offices.

Anaheim city spokesman John Nicoletti said the trip underscores the league's "real interest in returning football to this market." Added Coliseum General Manager Pat Lynch: "I think it's a wonderful demonstration that they're sincerely interested in Los Angeles ... hopefully sooner than not."

The NFL has said repeatedly that its intent in Southern California is to first select a stadium site, then consider whether to install an expansion team or move one of the current 32 teams.

Uncertainties in New Orleans sparked by Hurricane Katrina have sparked speculation over the future of the Saints.

Tagliabue recently deemed "nonsensical" any suggestion the Saints might move to Los Angeles.

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