<
>

Terry Bradshaw interested in buying Saints

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw
said Wednesday he wants to put a potential ownership group together
that would attempt to buy the New Orleans Saints and keep them in
Louisiana, where Bradshaw grew up.

"I'm supporting the citizens of Louisiana who don't deserve to
lose the Saints because of a hurricane," said Bradshaw, who
starred for Louisiana Tech before winning four Super Bowls with the
Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bradshaw, now an NFL analyst for the Fox network, was in
Shreveport for his induction into the city's Walk of Stars. He also
viewed the installation of the first sign marking the new "Terry
Bradshaw Passway" on Shreveport's inner highway loop.

Bradshaw told The Times of Shreveport that he doesn't have the
money to buy the team himself. He said he has sought out additional
investors, but did not name them. He is not sure whether Saints
owner Tom Benson is interested selling at this time, however.

"I have pursued other avenues to find out if Mr. Benson would
be interested in selling the Saints," Bradshaw said. "I had to
make sure I lined up the money. You've got to find out what Mr.
Benson wants first."

Benson has said he would prefer to keep the Saints in New
Orleans but does not know if the city can support it. NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has joined in discussions between the
Saints and the Louisiana governor's office.

The Saints have relocated temporarily to San Antonio since the
storm. They've played two games there and a third is scheduled in
December.

But last week, Benson agreed to move back two crucial deadlines
in the team's Louisiana Superdome lease with the state. An attorney
for the Superdome, Larry Roedel, said this week that moving the
deadlines all but guaranteed the Saints will play a 2006 schedule
in Louisiana. He added that he has received assurances to that
effect from the NFL, although the NFL has yet to confirm that
publicly.

"We are focused on the Saints in Louisiana, including possible
arrangements for their home playing schedule in 2006. No decisions
have been made," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Roedel said he planned to meet this week with Saints
representatives to work on new contract language.

The agreed upon contractual change would push back from Nov. 27
a provision giving the Saints the option to break their contract
with the state because the Superdome was not fit for football after
being damaged by Hurricane Katrina. That deadline has been pushed
back to Jan. 15, 2007.

The change would also extend a March 31, 2006, deadline in the
current agreement that gives the Saints the right to move to
another city after this season by paying back $81 million in direct
subsidies the team received from the state during the first four
years of a 10-year, $186.5 million deal signed in 2001. That date
has been extended by one year to March 31, 2007.

State officials said the Superdome, which received an estimated
$125 million to $150 million in damage, will be ready for games a
year from now.

The Saints still could attempt to break the lease before the new
deadline by arguing the Superdome was not fit to house NFL games.

If they try that, however, the state will take the matter to
court, arguing that the dome is being repaired and that an
acceptable alternative was provided in LSU's Tiger Stadium.

"Just as the Saints' contention may be asserted until January
2007, so can our defensive positions," Roedel said.