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Rams, NFL settle St. Louis’ lawsuit over franchise’s relocation to Los Angeles for $790 million

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ST. LOUIS — The NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke will pay $790 million to settle a lawsuit filed by St. Louis interests over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles, a joint statement from St. Louis city and county said Wednesday.

The settlement does not include a promise from the NFL to grant St. Louis an expansion franchise in the future, a source familiar with the agreement told ESPN, confirming a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That idea wasn’t seriously discussed, the source told ESPN.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much would be paid by Kroenke and how much would be covered by owners of the league’s 31 other teams.

“This historic agreement closes a long chapter for our region, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for our communities while avoiding the uncertainty of the trial and appellate process,” read a statement from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

St. Louis area officials haven’t yet determined how the settlement funds will be used, the statement said.

An NFL spokesman, in a brief statement, said the league and the St. Louis interests “have been able to fully resolve the dispute.”

The settlement, reached in mediation, ends a 4½-year-old lawsuit filed in the wake of the Rams’ departure. Kroenke and the NFL had failed in bids to have the lawsuit dismissed or at least moved out of St. Louis, and courts were sympathetic to the St. Louis side’s effort to disclose financial information of team owners — rulings that hastened the push for a settlement.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial Jan. 10. The lawsuit sought more than $1 billion. It claimed the team’s move cost the St. Louis region millions of dollars in amusement, ticket and earnings tax revenue.

Then-owner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams from Los Angeles in 1995 to her hometown of St. Louis, where they stayed for 21 seasons before Kroenke moved them back.

Kroenke, a Missouri real estate developer who is married to an heir of the Walmart fortune, became a minority owner when the team first came to St. Louis. Frontiere died in 2008 and left the team to her children, who sold the Rams to Kroenke in 2010.

It wasn’t long after that that the Rams began pushing for hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to the downtown domed stadium built with taxpayer money in the early 1990s to attract an NFL team.

St. Louis interests initially proposed a more modest upgrade, then eventually proposed a new $1 billion stadium along the Mississippi River that would be funded jointly by taxpayers, the team and the NFL. The league and the team balked.

Instead, Kroenke purchased land in Inglewood, California. SoFi Stadium opened in September 2020 and is now home to both the Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, who moved from San Diego in 2017.

Beyond losing an NFL team, St. Louis residents were incensed by Kroenke’s 29-page application to relocate ahead of the January 2016 owners meeting where the move was approved. The document was critical of St. Louis for its decline in population, questioned the region’s economic future and called into question whether it could support baseball’s Cardinals and hockey’s Blues as well as an NFL franchise.

The 2017 lawsuit filed on behalf of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority said Kroenke, other team officials and the league knew as early as 2013 that the Rams planned to relocate but lied in denying it. The lawsuit said the league ignored its own relocation guidelines in allowing the move.

The NFL, Rams and Kroenke said the guidelines aren’t iron-clad and the league had the right to approve a move that was clearly in the interest of the NFL and the owners of its 32 teams. The settlement comes after a string of in-court losses for Kroenke and the NFL, America’s most popular and lucrative sports league.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh ruled in July that there was sufficient evidence that Kroenke and others engaged in fraud, so he ordered NFL owners to release financial records. The purpose was to allow a jury to consider punitive damages if Kroenke and the NFL lost the lawsuit.

Lawyers for NFL officials called the request for records “invasive,” but the Missouri Supreme Court in September upheld the lower court order.

The NFL and Kroenke had also sought to move the trial out of St. Louis, citing “undue influence” over prospective jurors. But McGraugh denied the request in August, a decision later backed up by a Missouri appeals court.

Kroenke and the NFL also sought unsuccessfully to have the case heard in arbitration rather than in court.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyan Drake to have season-ending ankle surgery

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HENDERSON, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake will travel “in a few days” to undergo season-ending surgery on his broken right ankle in Birmingham, Alabama, Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said Monday in his weekly news conference.

Drake, who was carted off the field after being tackled and twisted down awkwardly from behind by Washington’s Daniel Wise midway through the second quarter of the Raiders’ 17-15 loss, took to Twitter Sunday night to say that the tackle that injured him “should be an illegal form of tackling like a horse collar.”

Bisaccia said Monday that Drake was frustrated since he suffered a similar injury last season, when he had a high right ankle sprain in Week 7 while playing for the Arizona Cardinals against the Seattle Seahawks. He missed one game with that injury.

“When you look at the play on tape, it did not look intentional,” Bisaccia said. “I think he got himself in a funky body position at the end, when he went to finish … the guy kind of rolled him over, got his ankle caught underneath there.

“Certainly, it ended up being a roll-up position at the end.”

Drake, 27, signed a two-year free-agent contract worth $14.5 million with $11 million guaranteed with the Raiders this offseason. A versatile change-of pace back to complement starter Josh Jacobs, Drake rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 63 carries and caught 29 passes for 283 yards and a TD. He also returned 10 kickoffs for 192 yards for the Raiders.

The Raiders have also lost fullback Alec Ingold for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee and backup running back Jalen Richard was placed on the COVID list the morning of the Washington game.



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Los Angeles Chargers put leading WR Keenan Allen on reserve/COVID-19 list

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Los Angeles Chargers leading receiver Keenan Allen was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, putting his availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in doubt.

Allen was one of 11 players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by teams on Monday. All were the result of positive tests, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Allen, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past four seasons, leads the Chargers with 929 receiving yards this season and has four touchdown receptions.

If Allen is vaccinated, he will need two negative tests 24 hours apart and be asymptomatic for 48 hours before he can return. If he is unvaccinated, Allen will have to stay away from the team for a minimum of 10 days.

The Chargers improved to 7-5 with their 41-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, a game in which Allen had two touchdown receptions.

Los Angeles is currently in second place in the AFC West standings.

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Cleveland Browns star defensive end Bill Glass dead at 86

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CLEVELAND — Bill Glass, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive end with Cleveland and member of the Browns’ 1964 NFL championship team, has died. He was 86.

The Browns said Glass died Sunday night surrounded by family at his home in Waxahachie, Texas. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Glass spent seven seasons with the Browns, who acquired him from the Detroit Lions as part of the trade involving quarterback Milt Plum.

An All-American offensive guard at Baylor, Glass switched to defense when he began his pro career in 1957 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. A year later he joined the Lions, who had drafted him with the No. 12 overall pick.

Glass spent four seasons with Detroit before going to Cleveland, where he became a star. He was credited with 16½ sacks in 1965, back when they were not recognized as an official stat by the league.

Glass finished with 87½ sacks, getting 77½ in his seven seasons with the Browns. He retired after the 1968 season and was inducted into the Browns Legends program in 2007.

After he retired, Glass, who was born in Texarkana, Texas, started his own ministry, Bill Glass Behind the Walls, working extensively with helping reform prisoners.

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