The Los Angeles Raiders, known for their swagger and doing the unexpected, are on the verge of convincing former Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson to leave the Kansas City Royals baseball team and return to a career in football, sources said yesterday.
Al Davis, Raiders managing general partner, would not confirm such a deal was finalized.
"I can't say anything," Davis said before leaving for the airport and an unknown destination.
When asked of his interest in Jackson, Davis, who last year drafted and signed Navy running back Napoleon McCallum, replied: "Obviously we're interested in him. We drafted him in the seventh round this year."
Jackson said in a telephone interview from Toronto last night he has no plans to leave the Royals. However, it was learned that Avron Fogelman, co-owner of the Royals, was in Toronto yesterday attempting to convince Jackson to remain with the team.
Last year, Jackson rejected a multimillion-dollar offer from the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who made the former Auburn running back their first selection in the 1986 college draft.
Jackon instead signed with Kansas City last year for three years at $1.066 million. A right-handed hitting outfielder with power and speed, he played most of the season with Memphis of the Class AA Southern League. He joined the Royals last September and has been with them since.
A clause in Jackson's contract with the Royals stipulates that he can leave the organization, if he decides to do so by Wednesday. However, if Jackson chooses to do this, he must return all money paid him by the Royals, including signing bonuses.
If Jackson were to make a similar decision July 15, 1988, he would be eligible to keep half of his earnings from the Royals.
If Jackson, 24, gives up baseball it would be surprising because he has done very well for a second-year player. He is batting .255, with 18 home runs, 45 RBI, 37 runs scored and six stolen bases. He has struck out 110 times.