Gordon Davenport, a Chattanooga, Tenn., businessman who owns a limited partnership in the Washington Federals, will talk this week with Berl Bernhard, team chairman and chief executive officer, about buying a bigger share of the U.S. Football League club.
"There have been some conversations regarding our taking a different, larger position," Davenport said. "And there will be some more talks this week."
Davenport, who owns and operates Wendy's franchises in the Washington-Baltimore area and Crystals, a large fast-food chain in the Southeast, also has been mentioned as possible owner of Memphis' team, when that city is granted an expansion franchise.
Davenport said that if he acquired controlling interest in the Federals, he would want them to remain in Washington. He now owns 15 percent of the club's stock.
Bernhard said yesterday he has been urging Davenport for weeks to become more involved in the franchise and "if he wants to buy in for more, I'd like to talk to him about it."
Asked specifically if Davenport had talked to him about purchasing a controlling interest in the team, Bernhard said, "We haven't talked specifics. Certainly we'd have to negotiate and see how much of it he wants. But I find him a very desirable individual who could help us tremendously."
Bernhard emphasized that "this team is not for sale. I have no intentions of selling it. If he wants to take more of a financial position, that is fine. But none of us intend to walk away from this thing . . . This team is staying here in Washington.
"I don't ever want to see this franchise moved, and he agrees with me."
The Federals, with the worst record (1-13) in the league, have averaged 14,831 spectators at RFK Stadium for seven home games. Before the season, Bernhard said the team had to average about 28,000 to break even. Counting no-shows who have purchased tickets, the Federals have averaged 24,875.
Two weeks ago, Jim Gould, the president of the Federals, announced his resignation. Last week, Bernhard fired Cal Levy, vice president of marketing and operations.
Bernhard is the team's principal owner, with seven other general partners making up three corporations under the umbrella title Capital City Sports Management Inc. The group's initial investment reportedly was $6 million. But with three teams to be added to the present 12, USFL sources claim each franchise now is worth $12 million.
In other developments, rookie quarterback Mike Hohensee definitely will not play Saturday against Arizona, because of what has been diagnosed as a sprained left knee. A team spokesman said Hohensee will have his knee placed in a cast today and will be out one to four weeks.
Hohensee was hurt Friday night in the loss to Denver and was given an arthogram examination yesterday by team physician Tony Rankin. The spokesman said there was no cartilage damage and Hohensee's status will be determined on a week-to-week basis.
Kim McQuilken will replace him as a starter, with Joe Gilliam the backup.
The Federals also completed a trade yesterday that gave Tampa Bay the rights to former Redskins guard Fred Dean, who signed Sunday with the Bandits. The Federals, who owned the rights to Dean, received in exchange the rights to former Redskins running back Rickey Claitt and a second-round choice in next year's USFL draft.
Claitt, who was on the Redskins' injured reserve list last year, is a free agent and will practice with the Federals this week. He is expected to sign and play against Arizona.