From Secretary of State to the NFL? 'Not now'

3/21/2006 - NFL

WASHINGTON -- Condoleezza Rice, a bona fide football fan, is
not applying for the newly opened post of NFL commissioner -- not
now, anyhow, her spokesman said carefully on Monday.

"She thinks football is the greatest sport on earth, but even
if she were approached for the job -- which she has not been -- she
would have to decline," Sean McCormack said.

"She still has many things she wants to accomplish as secretary
of state," he said.

Rice, who is avid particularly in support of the Cleveland
Browns, is enjoying being secretary of state "at the moment,"
McCormack said.

The wiggle-room in his response after NFL commissioner Paul
Tagliabue announced he would retire resonated off frequent only
half-joking statements by Rice that as a lifelong football fan she
aspires to run the league one day.

She may also aspire to be president or vice president, at least
there has been speculation that she might wind up on the Republican
ticket in 2008.

The owner of the New England Patriots, Bob Kraft, for one, seems
to be in Rice's corner for the football post.

Kraft told CNBC that he had dinner with Rice a few months ago
and found her to be "tremendously capable and highly competent.''

"I am flattered that she is interested in joining us," Kraft
said. "But, of course, I am only one of 32."

Rice, meanwhile, said through her spokesman that she thought
Tagliabue has been a "terrific commissioner" for the NFL. At the
commissioner's invitation, Rice sat in his box Feb. 5 at the Super
Bowl in Detroit's Ford Field.