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NFL produces over $4-million in disaster aid

By wire services
Published January 14, 2005

NEW YORK - The NFL and its teams, players and fans have raised and committed more than $4-million for tsunami relief efforts, the league said Thursday.

That amount includes $1-million directly from the NFL and $1.5-million from Seahawks owner Paul Allen's charitable foundation, the league said.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft and the team's charitable foundation have raised $500,000 for disaster relief. The Falcons and owner Arthur Blank have raised $370,000. Chargers owner Alex Spanos made a personal contribution of $150,000.

The NFL said it is encouraging league employees to donate money and is offering to match their donations up to $1,000.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is donating his playoff paycheck, worth $18,000, and Pro Bowl quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Peyton Manning filmed a public service announcement for the United Nation's World Food Program.

The NFL also announced that half of the proceeds from the Soupier Bowl of Caring, a national hunger relief program chaired this year by Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver and his wife, Delores, will go to tsunami relief efforts. The program raised $4-million last year.

Dolphins hire top executive

DAVIE - The man who helped bring coach Nick Saban to Miami landed a job of his own as the Dolphins' top executive.

Joe Bailey, a former Cowboys and NFL executive, will oversee operation of the organization and Dolphins Stadium. He'll succeed Eddie Jones, who plans to retire this spring after nine years as team president.

Bailey will assume an expanded role as chief executive officer of Dolphins Enterprises, an umbrella for all sports and entertainment entities owned by Wayne Huizenga.

Bailey worked most recently for the New York executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. He helped hire former LSU coach Saban last month and also consulted with Huizenga on the search for a chief executive.

"Each time we would get together with Joe, we would go somewhere and interview a CEO or we would sit around and discuss CEOs," Huizenga said. "I would always think to myself, "Why am I doing this? We have the best guy right here.' "

Bailey said about 35 candidates were considered - and he gradually realized the job might be right for him.

"As we went through the position description and talked about the characteristics that you want as far as a CEO, I thought to myself, "This would be very intriguing,' " he said.

Bailey will be in charge of implementing the plan unveiled Tuesday to transform Dolphins Stadium into a full-scale entertainment complex. Huizenga envisions a three-phase renovation that could exceed $400-million and might include a roof.

"These big, bodacious, large ideas are things that I personally feel comfortable with," Bailey said.

The Dolphins are coming off their first losing season since 1988. Bailey said the primary goal in all decisions on the business side will be to give fans a winning team again.

BILLS: Buffalo granted Travis Henry permission to seek a trade, giving the disgruntled running back a chance to become a starter again after losing his job to Willis McGahee. Henry's agent, Hadley Engelhard, said he has spoken with several interested teams.

PACKERS: President Bob Harlan plans to strip coach Mike Sherman of his general manager duties and is targeting the Seahawks' Ted Thompson as a replacement, the Associated Press reported.

Thompson, Seattle's vice president of football operations who used to work for the Packers, was scouting the East-West Shrine game in the San Francisco Bay area and was unavailable for comment. Harlan, who met with Sherman late Wednesday, wasn't returning phone calls Thursday, the team said.

Sherman, who didn't return a phone message at his office, is scheduled to have his season-ending news conference today. He has a year left on his contract, which pays him about $3-million for his dual roles.

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