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two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

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  • two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    Bernie Miklasz

    As the Rams attempt to reinvent themselves, a development that is long overdue, it's interesting to monitor two burgeoning relationships that could redefine the franchise.

    The Rams are clearly making a more personal connection with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. It's a bonding process that probably will result in the Rams choosing Bradford with the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL draft April 22.

    Perhaps even more compelling is another emerging buddy story: that between Rams minority ownership partner Stan Kroenke and pending majority owner Shahid Khan. We'll have more on Khan and Kroenke later in the column.

    But a couple of months from now the Rams could have a new franchise quarterback in Bradford, and a new ownership team in Khan and Kroenke. The combination of Bradford and a Khan-Kroenke partnership would accelerate the franchise makeover, initiate a fresh start and provide renewed hope for the organization and its demoralized fan base.

    Bradford-to-the-Rams isn't a done deal; the Rams are eager to see Bradford cut loose and air it out on his March 29 Pro Day. "That will be the final test," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Wednesday in an interview with the NFL Network.

    The organization is pleased with the medical reports on Bradford's right shoulder. "Everything up to now, he's passed with flying colors," Devaney said. "The medical reports are excellent. We went through the interview process, and he's an impressive guy. But we, like a lot of people, are really anxious to see Sam throw the football."

    Devaney and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur made a trip to Florida earlier this week to have a more up-close and personal meeting and football classroom session with Bradford.

    Bradford is scheduled to visit St. Louis on April 12. Naturally, the Rams will look at other quarterbacks and invite them to town for visits. And a weak or otherwise disappointing showing by Bradford on March 29 could prompt a shift in the Rams' thinking.

    Moreover, Devaney isn't ruling out a trade-down scenario. And he shouldn't, given the Rams' thin roster and the value of owning extra picks in a deep draft. Devaney is playing this the right way. The Rams are genuinely excited by the idea of making Bradford a centerpiece of their rebuilding. And by sending that signal along the NFL information pipeline, Devaney is letting it be known that he's dealing from a position of strength. If an NFL team wants to acquire that coveted No. 1 pick, they'll have to make a sweet offer.

    It appears Bradford is the only player in this draft with the potential to attract legitimate trade interest in the No. 1 slot. As one executive with an NFL team told me: "This is a quarterback league, and Bradford is the only franchise quarterback in this draft. A lot of teams need quarterbacks. He's the one. Teams aren't going to trade up to No. 1 to take a defensive tackle."

    The Rams' leveraging of Bradford will continue. He's the favorite to be chosen No. 1 by the Rams, but there's plenty of time on the game clock.

    Meanwhile, another ritual is under way.

    Khan and Kroenke appear to be hitting it off, which is positive news. Strong ownership is a must for the Rams to truly move forward as a franchise

    Khan would like Kroenke to continue in his role as the team's 40 percent owner. Kroenke has been predictably silent on the matter.

    Kroenke has until April 12 to announce his decision. His options are (1) remain in place as the 40 percent partner; (2) sell his 40 percent to Khan; (3) opt to trigger his right of first refusal and try to buy 100 percent of the team.

    The third option is remote because it would require Kroenke to engage the NFL in a battle to change its rules prohibiting cross ownership. Kroenke owns NBA and NHL teams in Denver that compete with the NFL Broncos for sports dollars in the market.

    Selling the 40 percent to Khan is doable. And league sources with direct knowledge of the situation insist that Khan could fund a 100 percent purchase. But a larger transaction would likely lead to more intense scrutiny of Khan's financial might, and that could slow Khan's quest for league authorization.

    Khan prefers to have Kroenke stay on board. Kroenke is already a member of the NFL ownership circle, so his presence would help Khan's goal of rounding up the 24 ownership votes needed for league approval.

    So how is it going between them?

    Khan and Kroenke have met at least twice, and perhaps three times. And Kroenke isn't attempting to conceal it, which is unusual based on his normal customs of doing business.

    The most recent Kroenke-Khan meeting occurred Tuesday night in Denver. Khan was Kroenke's guest for the NBA game between his Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards.

    And Kroenke didn't keep Khan in the background, out of view, for privacy purposes. Khan and Kroenke spent at least part of the game seated together at courtside at the Pepsi Center. And my Denver media spies tell me that Kroenke invited Khan into the Nuggets locker room after the game; Kroenke even introduced Khan to a couple of media people.

    I take this as a good sign. I don't believe Kroenke, an honorable fellow, would go to the length of putting on a public display unless he liked Khan and was comfortable about providing visual evidence.

    And if Kroenke likes Khan, it seems logical to conclude that a basis for a partnership is forming.

    Khan and Kroenke aren't commenting on their relationship. Khan, respectful of the NFL process and out of deference to Rams majority owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez doesn't want to be interviewed until the league votes him in.

    But Khan seems to have a new and influential buddy in Kroenke.

    And in Bradford, the Rams appear to zeroing in on a new franchise quarterback.

    After years of chaos and a 1-15 season in 2009, these are welcome developments.

  • #2
    Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

    It appears Bradford is the only player in this draft with the potential to attract legitimate trade interest in the No. 1 slot. As one executive with an NFL team told me: "This is a quarterback league, and Bradford is the only franchise quarterback in this draft. A lot of teams need quarterbacks. He's the one. Teams aren't going to trade up to No. 1 to take a defensive tackle."
    Add another to the collection of comments or tidbits that suggest the NFL is really down on Jimmy Clausen. I really wouldn't be surprised to see a Quinn/Rodgers-like slip for him on draft day, if these comments are an accurate reflection of thoughts around the league.


    • #3
      Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

      Originally posted by Nick
      Add another to the collection of comments or tidbits that suggest the NFL is really down on Jimmy Clausen. I really wouldn't be surprised to see a Quinn/Rodgers-like slip for him on draft day, if these comments are an accurate reflection of thoughts around the league.
      In my opinion if the Rams really feel Bradford is a Franchise QB, I don't think it'd be worth getting more picks, I'd rather just go for the sure-thing QB and pick him #1 overall.
      Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams


      • #4
        Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

        I agree Varg, but it would be rather foolish to at least publicly state your not interested in trade offers, eh? If you get that ridiculous "OMG we'll give you our first this year, our second, our third and our first NEXT year can we haz Bradford?" that would be damn tough to turn down.

        I'll stick with what I siad earlier, and that's that Bradford will be throwing to Avery this coming preseason.

        The notion that Spags is a "defensive coach" so he has a "defensive mind" is silly. He's a Head Coach of an NFL team and he wants success and perfection in all aspects of the game and has shown exactly that in his drafting. He wants whoever is best for this franchise and I just and it seems the Rams along with most people around the league don't believe it would be another rotational defensive tackle no matter how good. You typically get 5-6 highly productive years from a defensive tackle and then its decline. Not sure what the life span on an NFL QB is but I'd wager 8 good years with a starting Qb that could last up to 15 if your Favre or Manning. They impact your team more and they last longer. I want us to get our QB now so that next year we can get those sexy picks and spend them on beast receivers and tackles.

        Rams simply can't get them all so with that being said you get whats best for the team.


        • #5
          Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

          Any given hit on any given player can end a career, But to have 2 previuos hits linger with the so called #1 pick seems as risky as paying too much for a DT. I still feel the Bradford had the opportunity to turn his shoulder on the latter hit and take off the force of the ground, yet it wasn't me getting hit and probably wasn't really on his mind at the time.(I guess the first hit was the worst anyway) It seems that of all the chances and busts and other senerios that have happened in the past years for the RAMS,this pick is the biggest chance of all. But and I say but, this could be the knight we have been waiting for since food mart lost their bagboy!!!


          • #6
            Re: two healthy Relationships, Rams-Bradford Khan-Kroenke

            I hear you Bralidore but let's be real here, I really doubt there will be a trade worth looking at especially if they are in love with Bradford. What I want to know is this: Do the Rams feel that the Offense is ready to have a Franchise QB and that that QB's name is Sam Bradford? When I say the O is ready, I mean that the FO feels confident in all aspects: OL, WR, RB, etc. If that's the case, I'm all for Bradford. I'm a big Suh advocate for sure but if that's how they feel about Sam then I'm all for it.
            Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams


            Related Topics


            • MauiRam
              Kroenke's silence might say a lot ..
              by MauiRam
              Bernie Miklasz
              Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz


              What a strange time to be a Rams fan in St. Louis. We're eight days away from the NFL draft, and the Rams hold the first choice. They're probably going to choose talented Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, a good guy with an accurate arm who can become the new face of the franchise and a symbol of hope.

              After three seasons of 6-42 football, this should be a time of looking ahead to better, happier days. But as usual, Rams fans are left to wonder what's going on. The glimpse into the future is hazy. An unsettled, uncertain ownership situation has put the franchise in turmoil. And that's unfortunate.

              The concern is that the football operation is limited and unable to spend money and make moves because of the uncertainty at the very top of the franchise. If Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez are selling their 60 percent to Stan Kroenke or Shahid Khan, then haven't they already checked out?

              "Nothing could be further from the truth," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' chief operating officer. "We're making football decisions based on what's best for the Rams in the short term and the long term. We presented an offseason game plan to Chip and Lucia, and they agreed to it. Nothing has changed. There are no constraints. They are actively involved."

              The purpose here isn't to beat up on Rosenbloom and Rodriguez. They've made a genuine attempt to give the franchise a fresh start by installing new football leadership. And they have improved the dysfunctional culture at Rams Park.

              Moreover, the Rosenblooms were determined to sell to pro-St. Louis interests. They thought they had a good buyer in Khan, the central Illinois businessman who lives within an easy drive from St. Louis. After entering into a purchase agreement with the Rosenblooms, Khan immediately conveyed his pro-St. Louis sentiment and indicated that he wanted to keep the team here.

              But Rams minority ownership partner Stan Kroenke cut off Khan's bid by exercising his contractual right to buy the 60 percent owned by Chip and Lucia. Kroenke must persuade the NFL owners to change their cross-ownership rules to accommodate him.

              And what if Kroenke succeeds? It's widely assumed that Kroenke would be pro-St. Louis with the Rams. He's a Missouri native. A multi-billionaire and highly successful real-estate developer, Kroenke does business throughout the state. He has family here. He has a residence in Columbia, Mo. And he helped bring the Rams here from Los Angeles in '95.

              That said, something struck me as odd the other night when Kroenke disclosed his intentions to buy the Rosenbloom-Rodriguez shares. In his statement, Kroenke said nothing about wanting to keep the team in St. Louis. There was no expression of thanks offered to Rams fans for...
              -04-15-2010, 09:09 AM
            • MauiRam
              Kroenke plays it close to the vest ..
              by MauiRam
              BY JIM THOMAS

              ORLANDO, FLA. The day's business concluded, Stan Kroenke walked out of the NFL owners' meeting room Monday evening with Rams senior consultant John Shaw at his side.

              About the last person Kroenke wanted to see in this venue was a reporter. He has always been what's best described as media shy and that's particularly the case now that Urbana, Ill., businessman Shahid Khan has entered into an agreement to purchase controlling interest in the Rams.

              So what will Stan do? Buy, sell or stand pat? Kroenke didn't tip his hand Monday, saying he continues to consider his options.

              "We're all talking about our different approaches here, trying to come up with the best approach for everyone involved, I think," Kroenke said.

              He also indicated that he will take the full 60 days, or very close to it, to decide what to do.

              "I think that it's prudent to think through your options," Kroenke said. "These are big decisions. We're going to try to do the right thing."

              Kroenke said he really couldn't say anything more until the process plays itself out.

              Kroenke currently owns 40 percent of the Rams. He can decide to:

              Stand pat and maintain his 40 percent share of the Rams.

              "Cash out" and sell his 40 percent share.

              Exercise his right of first refusal, in essence matching Khan's offer for the team.

              In reality, Kroenke probably has only two options: maintain his 40 percent share or sell it. Because in pretty strong language Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that the league wasn't inclined to bend its cross-ownership rules to allow Kroenke to match Khan's offer.

              "Let's cross that bridge when we get to it," Goodell said. "But I don't think so. I think everyone understands we're going to respect our policies and make sure we treat everyone the same.

              "We have great respect for Stan, and he has to make some choices. But he also understands the league wants to continue to have policies that we think are beneficial to the league in general and fair to all 32 clubs."

              The cross-ownership rule prevents owning a controlling share in an NFL team in one market while owning majority interest in another major-league team (baseball, basketball, hockey) in a competing NFL city.

              Kroenke owns the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association and the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League.

              As part of Khan's Rams sale agreement Feb. 12, Kroenke has 60 days to declare his intentions with respect to Rams ownership. April 12 is three weeks away, so the time for making a decision is drawing near.

              The "vetting" of Khan and the entire sales...
              -03-23-2010, 09:50 AM
            • MauiRam
              Kroenke waiting for move on Rams
              by MauiRam
              Bernie Miklasz bjmiklasz 314-340-8192

              One of the more compelling aspects of the Rams' sale is the role of Stan Kroenke in the proceedings. Rams owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, team insiders and other NFL executives and owners are wondering: what is Kroenke going to do? Is he going to make a play for control of the team? And if so, when?

              Don't expect Kroenke to lay his plan out for us. He's staying underground on the Rams' front and not returning media calls. He's not about to give away any clues on his Rams' strategy.

              Kroenke, worth an estimated $3 billion, is a busy sports mogul. He owns 40 percent of the Rams. He owns the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NHL Colorado Avalanche and the Pepsi Center in Denver. He owns the Major League Soccer franchise in Colorado and the stadium that houses the team. He is the majority shareholder (28.3 percent) of the prestigious Arsenal soccer club in the English Premier League. Kroenke owns a pro lacrosse team, an arena football team, and a Colorado-based cable-sports network.

              And Kroenke's real-estate development company continues to prosper, making him one of the nation's wealthiest individuals according to Forbes magazine.
              So does Kroenke want to buy the available 60 percent ownership block and challenge NFL rules that prohibit cross ownership? Or is he content to hang onto his 40 percent, oversee his other sports properties, concentrate on accumulating more Arsenal stock and avoid a skirmish with the NFL?

              After speaking to a couple of Kroenke associates sorry, no names I think I have a general handle on his approach. But I can't be sure. Remember, this is the same Kroenke who made no noise about being interested in the Nuggets and the Avalanche, only to swoop in and buy them at the end of the process. Kroenke waited until the collapse of Bill Laurie's tentative deal for the teams, then made his move. And Laurie is Kroenke's brother-in-law, but Laurie knew nothing of Kroenke's intentions.

              I believe Kroenke will sit and wait for others to make the first move.

              It makes sense, because Kroenke has the right of first refusal on the Rams' sale. He can match any offer for the available 60 percent. By hanging back, Kroenke won't set the market and take the risk of bidding against himself to meet Rosenbloom's price. Instead, it's smarter for Kroenke to wait for another interested party to set the market, then react accordingly.

              If another bidder makes an offer on the lower side, and the price is acceptable to Rosenbloom, then Kroenke can match the offer and get a relative bargain. He can save millions of dollars on the purchase. If Kroenke gets a great deal, then he may be more inclined to fight the league over that 60 percent.

              And what if another bidder rushes in and pays whatever Rosenbloom-Rodriguez...
              -06-14-2009, 11:26 AM
            • eldfan
              Kroenke believes in Bradford
              by eldfan
              . .Home / Sports / Columns / Bernie Miklasz

              Bernie Bytes: Kroenke believes in Bradford
              BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist | Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 12:35 pm |

              * Stan Kroenke fired his GM and head coach. But the Rams owner undoubtedly will disappoint the impatient looney-tunes faction that wants to dump quarterback Sam Bradford.

              That isn't happening.

              "Sam is a big talent," Kroenke told me during a 27-minute phone interview Monday. "Our opinion on Sam hasn't changed."

              Kroenke made it clear that he's very comfortable in moving forward with Bradford.

              Kroenke believes Bradford's presence is one of the prime reasons for the appeal of the Rams' head-coaching job. Kroenke mentioned how fellow owners have told him how Bradford is "the real deal."

              When I told Kroenke that a sect of Bradford critics in St. Louis is working themselves into a frenzy over Bradford, Kroenke said: "Let's be fair to Sam. He hasn't had the players around him."

              Kroenke stressed the obvious need to add more playmakers to the Rams offense, which is hardly a controversial statement.

              I think it's good for Kroenke to reaffirm his support of Bradford. It's become fashionable to go negative on the second-year quarterback. In our hopeless short-attention span culture, people have little perspective of grasp of history.

              It's positive for Bradford to know that the owner has his back.

              * As was the case in his talks with Bryan Burwell and Jim Thomas on Monday, during our nterview Kroenke mentioned his enthusiasm for the book "War Room" which details the winning football-operations model used by the New England Patriots. There's only one problem with this: Bill Belichick is the reason why the model works. Well, having a future Hall of Fame quarterback also helps.

              So while I appreciate Kroenke's willingness to study other successful franchises, I don't know that it's applicable unless Belichick is the No. 1 guy in the system. Obviously, there are elements to the Patriots' model that would work well for any team, including the Rams. So it's good to learn about these things. But in reality, the Patriots win because of Belichick and QB Tom Brady. I doubt that the "War Room" model would amount to much without that specific coach-QB combination.

              So we might want to calm down, just a little, in thinking that Kroenke will be setting up "Patriots Midwest" here in St. Louis. Unless, of course, Belichick and Brady are on the way to set up at Rams Park. But that isn't the case.

              * However: the model would be at least relevant if the Rams can hire Jeff Fisher as coach. Fisher isn't Belichick, but he's been a good coach in the NFL for 16+ seasons. With the Oilers-Titans...
              -01-03-2012, 03:44 PM
            • MauiRam
              Kroenke: Rams would stay here ..
              by MauiRam
              By Bernie Miklasz

              If Stan Kroenke gains NFL approval in his quest to purchase the Rams, he vows to do everything he can to secure the team's long-term future in St. Louis.

              In his first interview since announcing that he'd exercised an option to match businessman Shahid Khan's bid for the available 60 percent of the team, Kroenke broke his customary silence in an attempt to reassure Rams fans of his positive intentions.

              "I'm going to attempt to do everything that I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis," Kroenke said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "Just as I did everything that I could to bring the team to St. Louis in 1995. I believe my actions speak for themselves."

              In the early 1990s, Kroenke became the lead investor in a St. Louis group that unsuccessfully pursued an NFL expansion franchise. But Kroenke later purchased 40 percent of the Rams from owner Georgia Frontiere as a precondition of the franchise's move from Los Angeles to St. Louis before the 1995 season.

              "There's a track record," Kroenke said. "I've always stepped up for pro football in St. Louis. And I'm stepping up one more time."

              Kroenke, citing confidentiality agreements, declined to discuss his plan to persuade the NFL to accommodate his bid for the Rams. Because of current league guidelines, Kroenke must work around NFL rules that prohibiting cross-ownership. He may have a problem in gaining clearance from the NFL because of his ownership of NBA and NHL franchises in Denver. The Post-Dispatch recently reported that one potential solution is to have Kroenke sell the Denver sports franchises to his wife, Ann.

              Again citing confidentiality agreements, Kroenke declined to discuss his dealings with Khan, who had hoped to have Kroenke stay on board as a 40 percent partner. A report in the Sports Business Journal claimed that Kroenke had asked Khan for "a mid- to high eight-figure fee" in return for allowing Khan to proceed with his attempted purchase of 60 percent of the Rams.

              Since Kroenke decided to match Khan's bid, Kroenke's motives have come under scrutiny. For starters, Kroenke didn't express a commitment to St. Louis in the statement he issued to announce his decision to match. Then came a report that Kroenke was a member of an NFL committee that supervises potential new-stadium projects in Los Angeles, which is seeking an NFL franchise. Then came the Sports Business Journal report, which caused more commotion in St. Louis.

              Kroenke is bothered by the perception that he'd work against St. Louis, or that he'd scheme to move the Rams back to Los Angeles. He pointed to a life spent largely inside Missouri borders, and his base in Columbia, Mo.

              "I'm born and raised in Missouri," Kroenke said. "I've been a Missourian...
              -04-21-2010, 12:08 AM