The New England Patriots ownership battle was delayed in court when it was disclosed that Donald Trump may buy the financially ailing NFL franchise from Billy Sullivan and his family.
Lawyers for the Sullivans and for Philadelphia businessman Fran Murray's group, which owns the option to buy and is suing to obtain Sullivan's controlling stock, confirmed Trump may hold the trump card for all parties.
"Donald Trump is interested in buying the New England Patriots," Joel Kozol, attorney for the Sullivan family, said after Norfolk (Mass.) Superior Court Judge Harold Flannery granted both sides a continuance until 9:30 a.m. today.
"And he's made an absolute commitment that the team should stay in New England and that would be a part of any deal that is made," Kozol added of Trump's interest in buying the team, which owes the Murray group $21 million.
"What interests me is the fact that the Sullivans are interested and this is the first time in our dealings with them that they have had a third party about whom they seem to be enthused," said Robert Popeo, Murray's attorney.
If Trump buys the team, Sullivan would avoid bankruptcy and Murray would get his money back. The NFL might also be spared a battle in the antitrust lawsuit filed by Trump on behalf of the U.S. Football League.
Trump was a leading force in the USFL and was among the league's owners who filed a $1.3 billion suit against the NFL in 1986. A jury awarded the USFL $1 in damages, but the USFL owners filed an appeal. Trump owned the New Jersey Generals from 1984 until the league suspended operations in 1986 after the jury verdict . . .
The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to trade defensive end Art Still to the Buffalo Bills, according to the Buffalo News.
The newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, said it had learned Still is unhappy playing under Chiefs Coach Frank Gansz. The paper said Still would like to play for Buffalo Coach Marv Levy, who coached Still at Kansas City in his first five seasons in the NFL.
Spokesman Dave Senko said the Bills would have no comment on the report.
Still, 32, a 10-year NFL veteran, made the Pro Bowl in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1984. Last season, he was the Chiefs' second-leading tackler with 80, and was third in sacks with 5 1/2.