Robinson: NFL is poised to return to L.A., Rooney says
Steelers safety Damon Cromartie-Smith is often seen wearing a Dodgers cap. But while growing up in the Los Angeles megalopolis, Cromartie-Smith couldn't wear a hat representing the NFL team in the nation's second-largest city.
Inexplicably, there hasn't been an NFL franchise in the City of Angels (and Dodgers) since the Rams left for St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland before the 1995 season.
That's about to change, and perhaps in a big way, as a back-to-Los Angeles movement gains considerable momentum. With multiple franchises unhappy with their a) lease, b) attendance, c) stadium or d) all of the above, it seems likely there will be an NFL team in Los Angeles in the next five years.
Perhaps as early as next season, though that seems improbable.
It might not be one team, either.
Steelers president Art Rooney II, chairman of the NFL stadium committee, is among the owners most plugged into what appears to be the inevitable return to LA. Because there are no plans to expand the 32-team league, a Los Angeles franchise — or franchises — would result from a relocation.
The prime candidates include the Chargers and, remarkably, the Rams and Raiders. Jacksonville also might figure into the equation.
“I would think that, within five years, L.A. would have a team,” Rooney said. “I wouldn't be surprised if it's two teams. I wouldn't want to make a prediction, but I would be comfortable saying one. But there's certainly a chance there will be two.”
Building a new stadium — a necessity for the NFL to return to Los Angeles — will be expensive no matter the location, given the price of Southern California real estate. So it would appear to make more fiscal sense to have two teams share a billion-dollar stadium, as the Giants and Jets do in the almost-new MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Commissioner Roger Goodell this summer reportedly sent a letter to owners setting the parameters for such a move; among them, a team must declare by Feb. 15 if it intends to relocate for the 2013 season (and, at least temporarily, play in the Coliseum or Rose Bowl). The NFL also will be involved directly in relocation plans.
There are two proposed stadium sites, in the city of Industry, about 22 miles from downtown, and a downtown location that is being pushed by AEG, the sports and entertainment company that owns Staples Center and half of the Los Angeles Kings.
“I think progress is being made,” Rooney said. “I'm not sure I'd say it's a done deal yet; some work needs to be done. But they're making progress, and I think site selection will probably be the next thing that happens.”
So, in the near future, some NFL owner will be humming the Randy Newman song “I Love L.A.” And the biggest winner might be Fox or CBS or ESPN, all of whom are likely to pick up larger game-day audiences in the nation's No. 2 TV market.
Having two teams in Los Angeles would create more West Coast travel for teams, including the Steelers, who have traveled to California only once in the past five regular seasons.
Despite harm, no foul
When Ben Roethlisberger revealed during camp that he developed a partially torn rotator cuff last season, it raised questions whether the Steelers violated the NFL injury policy by not disclosing it.
The NFL's response: No problem.
“We have had no issues with the Steelers on the injury report,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email.
Chris Carter, a second-year outside linebacker from Fresno State, is filling in for the injured James Harrison, who had knee surgery last week. Carter played in eight games last season.
What is it like replacing one of the NFL's best-known defensive players? “You get in there with guys like Brett Keisel, Troy (Polamalu) and Ryan (Clark) and Ike Taylor, all those guys, you've got to make sure you're on your Ps and Qs. You make sure you execute quickly because you don't want to mess those guys up. They've been in this defense for years — they're (almost) perfect. So you want to keep things going smooth.”
What is it like making it in the NFL despite not being from a BCS school? “When you get here, all those college rankings and all those things that get hyped up really don't matter. There's a lot of guys in the SEC that coaches thought were better than me, and now I'm here and they're not. I didn't go to an SEC school or a big BCS school, but it didn't change my perception. I want to hit somebody just like the next guy. I want to make plays just like the next guy, and I've got the ability and talent to do it.”
What have you learned from Harrison? “Man, the more I get to watch him, (I understand) this man is a genius. He knows a lot about the game mentally; he knows a lot about coverages, knows a lot about offenses. His technique is probably the best of any outside 'backer I've watched in the league. I'm in-house with the guy. I get to talk to him every day, and if I've got any questions, he's there to answer them.”
With training camp switching to the South Side this week, it will be interesting to see how the running backs competition plays out now that Rashard Mendenhall (knee) could be practicing within days. How soon will he be ready? Will Isaac Redman (groin) be out long? How will Baron Batch and Chris Rainey divide carries?
Player to watch
Might want to pay attention to nose tackle Steve McLendon during the exhibition game against the Colts, if only to see whether he can duplicate his one-handed tackle of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. When Casey Hampton is ready to play again, will the Steelers dare stack the 350-pound McLendon and the bigger-still Hampton in the middle on run downs?
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers quarterback Vick getting more acquainted with offense
- Steelers hoping to establish run early against San Diego
- New-look Steelers secondary is gaining some cohesion
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- Steelers notebook: Running back Bell OK with play-calling against Ravens
- Steelers’ Bryant returns from drug suspension, ‘won’t happen again’
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not worried about Jones’ lack of sacks
- Steelers notebook: Shazier practices, hopes to play Monday at Chargers
- New Steelers kicker Boswell ready for challenge at Heinz
- Rossi: Put this Steelers loss squarely on the kicker
- Steelers not afraid to bring heat with secondary