Fowler Agrees to Buy Vikings

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler agreed to buy the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that would make him the NFL’s first black owner.

Fowler declined to say how much he would pay for the team. Published reports and a rival bidder, Minnesota Timberwolf owner Glen Taylor, put the price at about $625 million.

Owner Red McCombs had the team on the block since 2002. Taylor had offered about $600 million, though some of that money was contingent on a stadium being built. If the league approves the deal, McCombs will make a huge profit -- he paid $246 million for the team in 1998.


Asked about becoming the league’s first black owner, Fowler said Monday in a seeming contradiction that he thought it was “a great thing” and not that big a thing. He said race didn’t figure in negotiations with McCombs.

NFL owners are to meet March 20-23 in Hawaii. League rules require 24 of the 32 owners to approve a sale.


Quarterback Jeff Garcia was released Monday by the Cleveland Browns, who cut ties with the three-time Pro Bowl player after one bad season. Garcia had signed a four-year, $25-million free-agent contract in March.


The U.S. soccer team will play Colombia and Honduras next month in friendly matches to prepare for World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Guatemala.

The Americans will play Colombia on March 9 at Cal State Fullerton, and Honduras on March 19 at Albuquerque.


The Galaxy and Chivas USA, who will share the Home Depot Center, announced their schedules for the upcoming Major League Soccer season.

The Galaxy opens on the road on April 2 at Columbus and Chivas will play host to D.C. United. The Galaxy’s home opener is April 9 against expansion team Real Salt Lake. The first meeting involving the Galaxy and Chivas will be April 23.


Rick Neuheisel cried on the stand while discussing his firing as Washington’s football coach, being separated from his former players and the effect on his family and career.

“It was devastating to my family. It was devastating to me professionally,” he told jurors in the King County (Wash.) Superior Court trial of his wrongful termination lawsuit. “Everybody out there was writing stories that I was this gambler.”

He admitted he wasn’t fully forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators about gambling on NCAA basketball, explaining that he feared implicating himself or harming his friends.


UC Irvine moved into Baseball America’s top 25 poll for the first time this season after a three-game home sweep of then-No. 8 Washington last weekend. The Anteaters (5-1) are ranked 19th by the publication.

Third-ranked Cal State Fullerton (4-1) retained its position with two lopsided home wins over Fresno State. USC did not make the poll despite beating Long Beach State twice to improve its record to 3-0, its best start in four years. Long Beach (5-3) fell to 20th.


Mike Pringle, a two-time winner of the CFL’s outstanding player award, is retiring after a career in which he became the league’s career rushing leader with 16,425 yards.

Pringle, 37, is the only player in CFL history to surpass 2,000 yards rushing in a season -- 2,065 yards in 1998 with Montreal. Pringle is a graduate of Granada Hills Kennedy High and was a sixth-round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 1990 from Cal State Fullerton.


Promoter Dan Goossen, representing heavyweight James Toney, has asked the World Boxing Assn. to schedule a purse bid for a match against its heavyweight champion, John Ruiz. Goossen has also asked that the standard 75-25 revenue split favoring the champion be modified to 50-50 for this match.

Should the WBA agree to Goossen’s request, the fight must be held within 90 days.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe of Australia will sit out this summer’s world swimming championships in Montreal, his coach, Tracey Menzies, said.