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Effort to build new St. Louis stadium gets boost from court ruling

 Effort to build new St. Louis stadium gets boost from court ruling
An artist's rendering of a proposed NFL stadium that could be built for the Rams in an area north of downtown St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

The effort to build a new riverfront football stadium in St. Louis got a big boost from a judge's ruling.

The effort to build a new riverfront football stadium in St. Louis got a big boost Monday when a judge ruled that approval from city voters is not necessary to use city tax money for the project.

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St. Louis Circuit Judge Thomas Frawley's ruling voided a city ordinance requiring voter approval for any project using tax dollars for a professional sports facility. He called the 2002 law's language confusing and vague.

He also ruled that the stadium plan does not break a state law requiring it to be "adjacent" to the city's convention center, even though several blocks separate the two sites.

The ruling is a win for supporters of a stadium proposal that's part of an effort to either keep the Rams in St. Louis or lure another team. The Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome, which is outdated by NFL standards. The new stadium would be along the Mississippi River.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a group planning a new stadium in Inglewood in the Los Angeles area, leading to speculation the team will move back to the West Coast, perhaps as early as 2016.

Dave Peacock, a former Anheuser-Busch executive who is part of a two-person team leading a stadium task force appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon, called Frawley's ruling "a victory for a bold and promising future for the NFL in St. Louis" and the rebirth of downtown.

John Ammann, a Saint Louis University law professor who filed a separate suit that sought a city vote on the stadium plan, said it was "a terrible day for local democracy."

The ruling came in a lawsuit that the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which operates the Edward Jones Dome, filed against the city to block enforcement of the St. Louis ordinance. The dome operators support the stadium proposal, which would extend bonds that are still paying for construction of the dome.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay said the city was reviewing the ruling.

Daughter of Packers player dies

Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless revealed Monday he missed the first two days of training camp because his daughter died at birth last week.

Quarless had initially been excused from the first practice of camp Thursday. On Monday, after fully participating in his first practice of camp, Quarless shared the devastating news and acknowledged that returning to football had been something of a safe haven.

He struggled at times to keep his emotions in check as he spoke after several family members, including his 5-year-old son, watched practice.

"It's the saddest day of my life," Quarless said. "I thank this team for the type of support they have given me to help me get through this. Just very thankful for these guys. It's really a family in here."

Quarless had been looking forward to his daughter's birth, especially in the wake of his July 4 arrest in Miami Beach, Fla., on a misdemeanor gun charge. He allegedly fired two shots into the air after an argument with a group of women, according to police. He pleaded no contest last month and is due in court on Aug. 24.

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Asked about his conversation with Coach Mike McCarthy after his arrest, Quarless replied, "He was very upset. Very upset. I just apologized to him for bringing negativity to this place."

Also

Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews missed Green Bay's Monday morning practice with what McCarthy termed "knee soreness." McCarthy downplayed any concerns about Matthews, the centerpiece of the team's defense. The coach said he does not have a timetable for Matthews' return. ... Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Travis Long has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second straight year. Long was injured in practice Monday. He missed last season after injuring his ACL in the final preseason game. ... Carolina Panthers starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will miss a "few weeks" of action after being diagnosed with a right foot injury. "Star has a stress reaction in his foot," Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a release. A stress reaction is generally considered the early stages of a stress fracture. It's the same foot that Lotulelei fractured in January, preventing him from playing in the team's NFC divisional playoff game against Seattle. ... Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata missed the team's first practice of training camp with a strained hamstring. The five-time Pro Bowler was acquired from Baltimore in the offseason when Ndamukong Suh left via free agency. ... The Arizona Cardinals have activated tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas. Gresham, coming off back surgery, was on the physically unable to perform list, and Niklas, out with a hamstring injury, was on the non-football injury list. Coach Bruce Arians said rookie outside linebacker Shaq Riddick aggravated a hamstring injury and will be out for "some time."

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