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Buccaneers reportedly discuss move to Cleveland

TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 17 -- Talks between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and non-governmental interests in Cleveland about moving the club to the Ohio city are heating up, the Tampa Tribune reported Wednesday. The newspaper quoted two unidentified National Football League officials as saying the Buccaneers have been talking to a point man, who has no ties to Cleveland city government, about the possibility. The Buccaneers, who want a new stadium in Tampa or some other city, would help fill the void if the Cleveland Browns move to Baltimore as planned by Browns owner Art Modell. Buccaneers' owner Malcolm Glazer and sons Bryan and Joel would not comment on the report, made from Atlanta where NFL meetings opened Wednesday. 'In keeping with our policy of not commenting at all about the rumors about us, we are not going to say anything,' Bryan Glazer said. 'We've been very consistent about that.' Another NFL official, Communications Director Joe Browne, said such a move could have a domino effect. 'If the Browns are approved and moved, then what happens to Cleveland?' Browne told the Tribune. 'If someone goes to Cleveland, what happens to the third city? There's a ripple effect here. 'The Browns' move can't be seen in a vacuum. All these rumors about Cincinnati, Tampa, Seattle and the rest have to be discussed,' he said. The Buccaneers have also had discussions involving Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., and Hartford, Conn., but Cleveland would appear to be the favorite. It came up with a $175 million plan to finance renovations for Cleveland Stadium in November, the day after Modell announced his move.

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City officials in Cleveland say they are interested in keeping the Browns and nothing else. 'A resolution for us is our team, our name and our colors,' White said. 'Our second preference is our name, our team and our colors.' The Glazers are unhappy with Tampa Stadium, and say they will nold no discussions with Tampa officials on the subject until the team receives a specific financial proposal. Tampa Bay area officials are trying to come up with financing for a new facility.

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