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Record $800 Million Buys Redskins and Their Stadium

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Washington Redskins and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium were sold for $800 million Sunday in the most expensive bidding war in NFL history.

The price paid by a group headed by brothers Howard and Edward Milstein and Daniel Snyder breaks the $530 million Alfred Lerner spent last year for the expansion Cleveland Browns.

Final details were hammered out at a meeting Sunday between members of the Milstein-Snyder group and trustees of the estate of the late Jack Kent Cooke, according to sources involved in the sale. The final sticking point centered on what figure to release when the formal announcement is made Monday morning.

“It depends on how you count the money,” one source said. “The price is $800 million gross. The net is $750 million. The group will pay $800 million, but will essentially get $50 million back right away from money in a Redskins bank account and other assets.”

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The Milstein brothers, who come from a successful banking family, own 45% of the NHL’s New York Islanders, but will all but certainly have to sell that interest to comply with the NFL’s cross-ownership rules.

The sale must be approved by three-quarters of NFL owners, who are expected to take up the matter during Super Bowl week at the end of the month. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which has been handling the negotiations, has kept the league apprised during the process to help ensure that the winning candidate would meet NFL requirements.

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Former Packers assistant and recently fired Philadelphia Eagles coach Ray Rhodes will succeed Mike Holmgren as Green Bay’s head coach, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The newspaper, quoting unidentified sources, said in today’s edition that all that remained to be completed Sunday night were final details of a four-year contract for about $1 million a year.

The Packers probably will announce Rhodes’ hiring in a news conference today, the report quoted sources as saying.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have hired Green Bay quarterback coach Andy Reid as their new head coach.

Reid, who served on Holmgren’s staff in Green Bay for seven years, accepted the Eagles’ offer late Sunday night.

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The Eagles scheduled a news conference today to introduce Reid.

Reid, 40, arrived in Philadelphia late Saturday and toured the city and met with team executives for a second interview Sunday.

He emerged as the team’s top choice in a field that included Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, fired Carolina coach Dom Capers and Oakland defensive coordinator Willie Shaw.

Reid would become the second-youngest head coach in the NFL after Oakland’s Jon Gruden, 35.

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Former Raider coach Art Shell met with Carmen Policy, the Cleveland Brown president, about the expansion team’s coaching job. Shell, 52, the offensive line coach for Atlanta, is the third candidate to interview with the Browns. Minnesota offensive coordinator Brian Billick and Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak are the others.

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The New York Times reported a number of NFL teams, including the Jets, use hidden cameras to videotape players’ activities in locker rooms. A Jet spokesman denied the cameras are used for surveillance purposes.

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College Sports

NCAA president Cedric Dempsey, addressing delegates at the NCAA’s annual convention in San Antonio, called illegal wagering an insidious affliction hurting college athletics and urged that universities “turn up the heat” and crack down on gambling.

“I challenge you to send a clear message that your athletics programs will not be used as the poker stake in sports wagering and point shaving,” Dempsey said.

Speaking with reporters later, Dempsey said the NCAA is moving toward implementing background checks on basketball officials for Division I championships. The men’s basketball committee has approved the concept and it will be sent to the championships competition cabinet in February, he said.

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Tennis

Rainer Schuttler of Germany defeated top-seeded Tim Henman, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, to win the $1-million Qatar Open in Doha. Ranked 111th, Schuttler was a qualifier at Qatar. . . . Thomas Enqvist of Sweden defeated 17-year-old defending champion Lleyton Hewitt, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, in the final of the Australian Men’s Hardcourt tournament at Adelaide. . . . Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat Mary Pierce of France, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, for the Australian Women’s Hardcourt championships at Gold Coast.


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