League considers its own sports network

By wire services
Published February 5, 2005

JACKSONVILLE - Commissioner Paul Tagliabue sent a veiled warning to ABC and ESPN on Friday that the league might get involved in creating a new sports TV network.

While the NFL already has extended agreements with Fox and CBS for its Sunday afternoon TV rights, negotiations on the prime-time packages with ABC and ESPN have stalled.

Other topics brought up by Tagliabue:

The league is considering a game in Mexico or Canada, perhaps as soon as the upcoming schedule. Prime candidates to sacrifice a game in their home stadium would be the Cardinals for Mexico or the Bills for Canada. And Tagliabue envisions preseason games in China leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He vowed to have a franchise in Los Angeles by the end of the decade. He didn't say if an expansion team or an established franchise would wind up there.

He is concerned about the gap between the NFL Players' Association and the league in negotiations on lengthening the collective bargaining agreement, which runs through 2008.

CHARGERS: Rob Chudzinski was hired as tight ends coach after spending last season in the same job with the Browns.

PRO BOWL: Running back Corey Dillon was selected for his fourth Pro Bowl, making him the second member of the AFC champions to be added to the roster as an injury replacement. He replaces Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James, who has a back injury.

RAVENS: Running back Jamal Lewis reported to federal prison camp near Pensacola to serve a four-month sentence for using a cell phone to try to set up a cocaine deal, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman said.