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Chargers and Bandits Near a Deal on Anderson

Times Staff Writer

The Chargers moved a bit closer Wednesday toward the acquisition of running back Gary Anderson of the Tampa Bay Bandits, and owner Alex Spanos said he believes the deal can be completed this week.

In a brief press conference, Spanos said Lee Scarfone, who holds an option to purchase the Bandits, had completed two hours of talks with other USFL owners and had secured the approval of a majority to make the trade.

Scarfone, however, cautioned that the transaction may be delayed until next week. He is scheduled to meet Friday in New York with Harry Usher, USFL Commissioner, in an attempt to sweep away any remaining obstacles. A formal vote of league owners on whether to permit Anderson’s exodus from the USFL is scheduled early next week.

“We like to think we could have Gary join the team this weekend,” Spanos said. “I’m encouraged today and I have a lot of confidence Lee Scarfone will make it work.”

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Earlier this week, the Chargers came to terms with Anderson on a four-year, $2-million contract, with a $350,000 buy out of his Tampa Bay contract. If Anderson signs this week, he could be in uniform for the Chargers’ next home game, Sept. 29, against Cleveland.

It appears unlikely that the Chargers can meet the Spanos timetable, even under the most ideal conditions.

“No vote was actually taken Wednesday, and Mr. Spanos may have misunderstood that point,” Scarfone said.

“There were two objections raised (by owners), and I can see how Mr. Spanos may have understood me to mean that a majority had given approval. Two teams have indicated they would claim Gary on waivers, but I believe that’s irrelevant.”

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Scarfone has indicated he believes Anderson can move to the Chargers without having to clear waivers on the basis of a special exemption in his contract.

Spanos seemed confident Scarfone can convince several reluctant USFL magnates, including Bill Tatham of the Arizona Outlaws, to waive any opposition to Anderson’s departure.

“I believe Bill Tatham is intelligent and reasonable, and if he saw Gary’s contract, he would understand what we’re saying,” Scarfone said. “I can understand his desire to say to his community that he would like to add a player of Gary’s ability to his team.”

It’s possible the key to Anderson’s joining the Chargers could rest with the USFL commissioner’s office.

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“I have confidence that if we present our case in a comprehensive way, Mr. Usher and the league will view this in a favorable way,” Scarfone said.

“It’s not clear to me precisely how many votes are required to approve (a player transfer), but I am confident that the wishes of a majority of the owners would prevail.”

Anderson is undoubtedly worth all the effort being expended on his behalf by the Chargers. He is viewed as one of the USFL’s two most talented offensive players, along with Herschel Walker.

Ron Nay, the Chargers chief scout, compared Anderson to Seattle’s Curt Warner in ability, saying he is more of an outside threat, but less powerful as an inside runner.

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