PRO FOOTBALL : Deadline Change Indicates Rams Closer to Settlement

From From Staff and Wire Reports

The Rams reported no progress in talks with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue Tuesday, but announced they have extended to April 17 the standstill agreement with the league, fueling speculation that a settlement is in the works.

Sources within the Ram organization are convinced the team will be able to reach an understanding with the league and play the 1995 season in St. Louis. If the league and the Rams reach an understanding, a vote of NFL owners will be necessary to seal the team's move.

A standstill deal between the Rams and the league, which had been struck months ago, prohibited the NFL from filing a lawsuit against the Rams before March 31. The Rams intended to file an antitrust suit against the league Thursday, but now have until April 17 to pursue such action.

Tom Eagleton, head of FANS Inc. in St. Louis, said he was "very happy about the development."

"This is an indication that negotiations are continuing," he said. "Our primary goal remains to get the Rams here for 1995."

Eagleton said filing a lawsuit would be a "declaration of war." It would end any hope of continued negotiations.

"A successful negotiation is the best way to get this done," Eagleton said.

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