Minnesota suburb pitches new Vikings stadium


NFL: Notebook

Associated Press

Arden Hills, Minn. — Officials in a Twin Cities suburb said Tuesday they have reached an agreement with the Minnesota Vikings to lure the NFL team away from their longtime home in Minneapolis with a retractable-roof stadium built on a Superfund site.

The site of the stadium would be the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant property in Arden Hills, about 10 miles from the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The agreement calls for an $884 million stadium and an additional $173 million for on-site infrastructure, parking and environmental costs.

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Ramsey County said the Vikings will commit $407 million to the project — 44 percent of the stadium costs and 39 percent of the overall costs. The county’s share would be $350 million, to be financed by a half-cent sales tax increase.

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett, whose district includes the site, said in a news release that the proposed project would “turn an environmental liability into an asset, clean up the largest Superfund site in the state, return property to the tax rolls, put people to work and provide for much-needed transportation infrastructure upgrades.”

The announcement comes one day after Minneapolis officials pitched a plan to keep the team downtown. It also came just hours after Gov. Mark Dayton said fixing up roads near the Arden Hills site would likely cost at least $175 million and up to $240 million if it includes restaurants, hotels and other amenities.

Still, Dayton said he could support either site as long as the state share doesn’t exceed $300 million.

The Vikings have been pressing for a new stadium for years, but the team

The stadium discussion had been largely put off at the Capitol as legislators struggle to resolve a $5 billion state deficit. It picked up speed last week, with Dayton saying he had met privately with owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and he was ready to sign a stadium bill.

Extra points

Eight-time All-Pro guard Alan Faneca , 34, announced his retirement after 13 seasons with the Steelers, Jets and Cardinals.

He was the Steelers first-round pick out of LSU in 1998.

… Ravens rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle has pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge in Baltimore, and sentenced to one year with all but five days suspended.

NFL players, owners do not have meeting


NFL: Notebook

Associated Press / Associated Press

Washington — The tension and stakes are rising in the NFL labor talks with only a day remaining before the twice-extended collective bargaining agreement expires.

NFL general counsel and lead negotiator Jeff Pash said Thursday the league is committed to getting a deal done, adding: “I don’t know if both sides have an equal commitment. … Obviously, we have the commitment.

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“If both sides have an equal commitment to getting this done, it will get done. It’s a process, not an event. Things can come together quickly and they can fall apart quickly.”

When those comments were relayed to NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah, he responded with an e-mail to the Associated Press that said: “Jeff Pash was part of an executive team that sold the networks a $4 billion ticket to a game they knew wouldn’t be played. The only thing they’ve been committed to is a lockout.”

Atallah says the union and the NFL owners didn’t meet face-to-face Thursday. He said union officials were heading home, but would return for talks, if asked by the mediator.

With the twice-extended collective bargaining agreement due to expire today, nine of the 10 members of the owners’ labor committee were at the office of the federal mediator overseeing negotiations.

Union leader DeMaurice Smith, lawyers and several active or former players arrived at the mediator’s office in the morning, then left a few hours later.

The only missing member of the key league group was Patriots owner Robert Kraft, part of a delegation visiting Israel with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Asked Thursday whether he expects next season to start on time, Kraft told the Associated Press: “That’s my belief.”

While Mara, Hunt and Murphy occasionally have participated in the talks since mediation began Feb. 18, a group this large attended only one previous session, last week.

A work stoppage would end 24 years of labor peace

Bronco to stand trial

Details of sexual assault allegations against Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox will remain secret after his attorney waived his client’s right to a preliminary hearing on the evidence.

That means the case will proceed directly to a trial.

Cox’s next court date is an arraignment May 16, when he’s expected to enter a plea.

Browns cut former Lions DT Shaun Rogers


NFL: Notebook

Associated Press / Associated Press

Cleveland— The Browns are cleaning house. On Wednesday, team officials terminated the contracts of some big-name players, including their biggest player — enormous nose tackle Shaun Rogers, who also played for the Lions.

In addition, the Browns, who are rebuilding once again under new coach Pat Shurmur, also released veteran linebackers Eric Barton and David Bowens (Michigan), defensive end Kenyon Coleman, tight end Robert Royal and right offensive tackle John St. Clair.

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Rogers, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was due to make $5.5 million in 2011 with a $500,000 roster bonus.

Rogers was on his own practice schedule last season, resting a leg injury so he could play on Sundays.

A Pro Bowler in 2008, Rogers played in 15 games, but made only one start and finished with just 17 tackles.

The Lions traded Rogers to the Browns in 2008 for cornerback Leigh Bodden and a third-round draft pick.

Ticket holders sue NFL

Ticket-holding football fans that ended up with no seats or what they considered bad views of the Super Bowl have filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, the Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones .

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Dallas alleges breach of contract, fraud and deceptive sales practices on behalf of people who ended up watching the game on television at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, or had seats the lawsuit labeled “illegitimate.”

NFL officials had announced just hours before the Packers played the Steelers last weekend about 1,250 temporary seats were deemed unsafe.

Officials scrambled to find new seats for about 850 people. The remaining 400 were forced to watch from standing-room locations around the stadium.

Cowboys and NFL officials had no comment Wednesday.

League, union meet

The NFL and players union representatives met for much of Wednesday afternoon in Washington to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement.

It was the second session in five days. Another session is set for today.

Neither side would comment on what was discussed or how fruitful the talks were.

Team owners opted out of the CBA in 2008 and the current contract expires March 3. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized the need to get a deal done soon during his Super Bowl news conference last week.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said he expects the owners to lock out the players after the CBA expires.

Team owners want a bigger cut of the revenues, which are roughly $9 billion, as well as a rookie wage scale and to increase the regular season by two games to 18, dropping two exhibitions.