The Arizona Firebirds, a group seeking to bring an...

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The Arizona Firebirds, a group seeking to bring an NFL franchise to Arizona, announced Friday the hiring of former Green Bay Packers Coach Bart Starr.

Starr, who played 17 years with the Packers and was dismissed last month after nine years as head coach, will assume the position of head coach and director of football operations with the Firebirds.


In making the introduction, Firebirds President Robert Whitlow said Starr 'has joined the organization and will actively participate in the club's endeavor to bring an NFL expansion team to Arizona.'

'I was delighted to be approached by these people,' Starr said. 'It's an exciting opportunity.'

Starr said he had spoken with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle after being contacted by Firebirds management and was given assurances as to the credibility of the group.

'Pete wished me well and confirmed to me that I was joining a quality group,' he said. 'We know, of course, that there are no guarantees.'

The Firebirds are also headed by former American Football League Commissioner Joe Foss. Whitlow was the founder and general manager of the now-defunct Phoenix Roadrunners of the World Hockey Association.

The group has leased 500 acres of land on the Gila Indian Reservation and Whitlow said they are prepared to break ground for a 72,000-seat stadium 48 hours after a franchise is awarded.


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