Rams Notebook: Kroenke intends to keep Denver teams in family
Says he looks forward to family owning Nuggets and Avalanche 'for years to come'

By Howard Balzer
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In his first clear public comment about his plans related to becoming the sole owner of the Rams, Stan Kroenke said Tuesday the Rams, NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche would stay in his family.

In a prepared statement released by the Rams on Tuesday, Kroenke said, "After meeting with the NFL Finance Committee and Commissioner Goodell, we recently submitted a proposal to the league regarding the St. Louis Rams’ Partnership agreement and our right to buy the remaining 60 percent of the franchise. Although no final decisions have been made, we are pleased with the progress we have made to this point. We will continue to respect the Rosenbloom family and the league and its processes as we work to finalize a transaction in the coming months.

"My family looks forward to owning the Rams, Nuggets and Avalanche for years to come while being compliant with all stipulations set by the NFL. Our family remains committed to fans in St. Louis and Denver. As many people know, our son Josh has been involved with many of our organizations for several years and that family continuity remains a priority.”

Last week, SportsBusiness Journal reported that the NFL was getting closer to approving Kroenke as owner of the Rams, while giving him a grace period to sell the teams he owns in Denver. The publication said the NFL has yet to agree whether to allow the Denver teams to be sold to family members.

The comments from Kroenke seem to indicate he expects such approval. Kroenke said his plan is to have his son Josh be the owner of the Nuggets, while he didn’t specify whether Josh, or his wife, Ann, would become the Avalanche owner.

From the NFL side, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told SportsBusiness Journal, “Stan would be a great partner. I would like to see him in the room. We are trying to find a way for him to solve the problems.”

Denver Broncos owner Patrick Bowlen said, “I have no issues with Stan.”
Smith limps off

The Rams held a short 35-minute practice Tuesday before heading to their annual playground build, but there was still enough time for another injury to occur.

About halfway through the OTA, left tackle Jason Smith limped off the field and was tended to by the team’s trainers for several minutes. The good news was that he walked off looking a lot better. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Smith injured a toe and that it got “a little funky, but it seems OK. We’ll obviously check it out.”

When Smith left the field, right guard Adam Goldberg moved to left tackle and Hank Fraley, the backup center, came off the sideline to line up at right guard. Mark Setterstrom has been at left guard during the absence of Jacob Bell.

Meanwhile, cornerback Kevin Dockery did not practice after suffering a minor ankle sprain in practice Monday. Spagnuolo said it is hoped he is OK for the minicamp, which begins Thursday. Guard John Greco, who had been out with a pectoral injury, returned to practice.

Spagnuolo is also pleased with the progress of defensive lineman C.J. Ah You, who is returning after suffering a torn ACL during the 2009 season. “I’m pleasantly surprised by what C.J. has been able to do,” Spagnuolo said, “He did a lot of work yesterday.”
Spags on Bruce

Spagnuolo said he had the opportunity to talk with Isaac Bruce Monday. “He’s terrific,” Spagnuolo said, “I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. I’m looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.”

Asked if Bruce might be able to help the team in mentoring role with the team’s young receivers, Spagnuolo said, “We’ll talk about it. I wasn’t able to talk to him before he was under contract to another team, but now I can. Of course, I don’t know what his mindset is.”

Meanwhile, Mississippi State rookie receiver Brandon McRae is still wearing No. 80, but possibly not for long. McRae, who has looked good in the OTAs, was very aware of Bruce and his history with the Rams.

Said McRae, “I wore his number in high school. When I got here and saw that jersey hanging in my locker, my eyes lit up. He’s a legend, a great player.”

When it was mentioned to McRae that he might not have the number much longer, he said, “I found out today.” He was then ushered away by the team’s media relations staff, leaving us to wonder what exactly he found out today. It’s likely he found out he’ll be wearing a different number when the team’s minicamp begins Thursday morning.
Atogwe update

Another team has apparently dropped out of the Oshiomogho Atogwe sweepstakes, and the question is whether the teams really aren’t interest in the player or whether they simply won’t become involved in bidding against themselves in a situation where reports are that Atogwe is seeking a contract worth $7 million a year.

Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said, "I'm very happy with the safeties we've got on our team right now. Very happy."

Last week, the ***** had indicated they weren’t interested, and coach Mike Singletary was asked about Atogwe on Monday. Singletary said, “Right now, we’re going forward with what we have. We’re happy with the safeties that we have now and I’m just going to leave it right there.”
Bradford the golfer

PGA Tour pro Jay Williamson played golf with quarterback Sam Bradford recently and came away impressed, saying Bradford could turn pro if he put his mind to it.

“It was a great experience,” Williamson said. “He’s the best pro (team-sport athlete) I’ve ever played with. And he did it with a set of clubs from a Titleist rep.”

Bradford shot 76 at Bellerive, the first time he’d ever played the course. Added Williamson, “He hit the ball 20 yards longer than me and he chips and putts like he plays every day.”