John Shaw said he has reached "an understanding" with FANS, Inc., and the Rams' move to St. Louis could be announced Tuesday. But he said it is still contingent upon paperwork being completed and team owner Georgia Frontiere giving her approval.
Shaw, the Rams' president, stressed Thursday that Frontiere has yet to review St. Louis' offer and is presently awaiting final paperwork, which includes 28 to 32 documents. Shaw said once papers are prepared it will take several days for the Rams to study them.
"There is no deal at this time," Shaw said. "There is no deal to move to St. Louis until ownership approves it.
"There are a number of documents still being drafted, and there is always the possibility that differences in language will crop up. If paperwork is not completed in the next few days, then there will be no announcement Tuesday.
"We have an understanding on all major issues, but differences can surface when putting together language in final documents," Shaw said. "There is still a lot of work to be done."
If Frontiere signs the documents, she is expected to join Shaw in St. Louis for Tuesday's announcement.
There are indications that St. Louis is gearing up for a Tuesday press conference.
Tony Marino, general manager of Mike Shannon's Restaurant in downtown St. Louis, said Thursday he has been asked by former U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, who is heading the city's negotiations with the Rams, to "hold the banquet room and bar" in his restaurant for Tuesday afternoon.
And a source from FANS, Inc. (Football At the New Stadium), the group attempting to lure the Rams to St. Louis, told St. Louis-area media that Tuesday "is the target day" for an announcement. Attempts to reach Eagleton were unsuccessful.
A breakthrough apparently came this week when the Rams and FANS, Inc. reached an agreement in principle on the two major issues that had prolonged negotiations--guarantees on the sale of luxury boxes and club seats, and guarantees on the sale permanent-seat licenses, one-time fees fans will pay for the right to purchase season tickets in the new 70,000-seat domed stadium.
The two sides have apparently not agreed on a site for a practice facility, but a St. Louis source said the deal will include assurances that a training complex, at an estimated cost of $15 million, will be provided, and that details can be worked out later.
The Rams also are putting the finishing touches on a deal to sell a minority interest in the team to Missouri businessman Stan Kroenke, who is expected to purchase up to 40% of the Rams. Kroenke, who failed in his attempt to bring an expansion team to St. Louis in 1993, was reportedly in Los Angeles this week to meet with Shaw, and his attorney, Alan Bornstein, said Thursday that negotiations "are progressing."
The final agreement between the Rams and St. Louis is expected to include several provisos, which would allow the Rams to back out of the deal should certain guarantees not be met. The Rams also would have the option to rescind the deal should they fail to win approval from three-fourths (23 of 30) of NFL owners, who will probably vote on the proposal for transfer during the March league meetings in Phoenix.