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Author Topic:   NFL - 2004/2005 Season
NEWSFLASH
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posted February 19, 2004 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
INDIANAPOLIS -- For the first time in history, the NFL salary cap will top $80 million in 2004, league and union officials confirmed.

At a meeting in Dallas late in the 2003 season, club officials were told to plan for a cap of about $78.7 million. Instead, the spending limit for the '04 season will be approximately $80.5 million.

While that might not seem a very significant amount, the nearly $2 million bump from the anticipated ceiling represents some more breathing room for franchises struggling to come into cap compliance. The league-wide cap was $75.1 million in 2003.

Teams must be under the cap by the end of business on March 2. The new cap number is expected to be announced by the end of the week.

"We've tried to identify every dollar [of designated gross revenue] that should count toward the cap," said one high-ranking NFL Players Association official. "And we feel like we do a pretty good job of it. But this year, we made up our minds to be better than we've ever been, to find every dollar coming to us."

It is not unusual for the cap limit to grow a bit from the anticipated amount but in the past the increase has been negligible.

Two representation agencies, both held in high regard by the NFLPA, told ESPN.com this week that they had learned the cap would be set at $80 million to $81 million. Officials at one of those agencies, with close ties to NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw, agreed the increase could help solve cap woes of a few clubs.

Executives from some teams acknowledged they had heard the cap might grow but said they were surprised by the size of the increase.

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fred
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posted February 19, 2004 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Let's see - the salary cap in football - the highest grossing sport in the U.S. is $80 million and the Yankees are spending $190 million this year and baseball is in trouble. Hmmm - I wonder why Football has become the national sport. WAKE UP BASEBALL AND HOCKEY PLAYERS ASSOCIATIONS - HOW ABOUT A SALARY CAP MORONS!

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jpgordo
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posted March 06, 2004 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jpgordo   Click Here to Email jpgordo     Edit/Delete Message
NEW YORK - Six high school players and one from junior college have applied for the NFL draft, taking advantage of the court ruling in the Maurice Clarett case that cleared the way for underclassman.

The NFL released the final list of nine players Friday who requested early eligibility for the April 24-25 draft. The deadline for applying was March 1, with the players given 72 hours to pull out.


In addition to Clarett, the running back who played as a freshman at Ohio State but was suspended last season, and Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams, there were seven others on the final list.


Williams, who played two seasons in college, is expected to be a first-round pick while Clarett is thought to be a potential second- or third-rounder.


Clarett went to court to challenge the NFL's rule preventing players less than three years out of high school from entering the draft, and a federal judge ruled in his favor.


Most scouts and league officials believe the jump is far too great for most underclassmen and high school players.


NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the list released Friday was based on those who submitted written applications.


"I don't think we do any extensive checking because there's no point to it based on the ruling," Aiello said. "We can't limit who's eligible under this ruling."


According to the NFL, the seven who applied were: Ronnie McCrae, a defensive back from Pasadena (Calif.) City College; Joe Banks, a running back from New Directions Academy High School in Baltimore; quarterback John Belisle of Capac Community High School in Capac, Mich.; defensive tackle Earl Fields of Appling County High School in Baxley, Ga.; wide receiver Joe Lee of Gates High School in Tacoma, Wash.; running back Ethan Mitchell of Flowers High School in Springdale, Md.; and offensive tackle Ken Petitt of Redford High School in Detroit.


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indiedan
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posted March 29, 2004 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
League authorizes extension of Tagliabue's contract by three more years

By Don Banks, SI.com

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Facing pivotal issues like the negotiation of a new television contract and another extension of the league's collective bargaining agreement in the coming years, the NFL moved on Monday to create stability at the top of its management chart by voting to extend the contract of commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

In his role as a member of the league's compensation committee, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney announced the decision, after it was unanimously approved in a vote by all 32 teams on the first day of the league's annual meeting at The Breakers hotel.

The league authorized the compensation committee to add up to three years to Tagliabue's current four-year contract, which was set to expire in May 2005. Rooney said he initiated the overture to Tagliabue, who was receptive. Negotiations will start next week, said Rooney, who added, "It shouldn't take too long.'' Rooney declined to discuss the size of Tagliabue's compensation package.

"The NFL is facing some very serious and important issues, with the TV contract, the CBA, stadium issues, and others,'' Rooney said. "This was unanimously approved, which I believe indicates the confidence the league has in Paul Tagliabue.''

The league hopes to open formal discussions regarding a new CBA with the NFL Players Association next month, even though the current extension is not set to expire until 2007. The league's rich television network contract runs until 2006.

Tagliabue succeeded the retiring Pete Rozelle as commissioner in 1989, and under his stewardship the league has prospered at record levels by almost every conceivable standard of measurement.

"I think he's been excellent for about 15 years now,'' Rooney said. "As commissioner, I think he's taken this league to new levels. The TV situation is phenomenal. The ratings are great. We're doing very, very well there. His relationship with the players association is terrific, and there's the work on the stadiums. We've had quite a few new stadiums. I just think it's obvious what we think of him.

"I think what he brings is integrity, which I think is the most important thing that we have. He has great intelligence, and the ability to speak to his people. But I think his integrity and the integrity of the league is the essential thing we have.''

Rooney said there is no significance to the decision to offer Tagliabue just three more years after this season, and that the commissioner could receive another extension at some point in the future. Among those considered to be Tagliabue's potential successor include NFL executive vice president/chief operating officer Roger Goodell and Atlanta general manager Rich McKay.

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indiedan
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posted March 29, 2004 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Oh, yeah, and only 131 days until the first pre-season game. Let the countdown begin to the Eagles Super Bowl win!

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indiedan
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posted April 05, 2004 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Clarett impresses NFL scouts during workout

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Maurice Clarett ran, jumped, lifted weights and caught footballs for the first time for pro scouts on Monday. By and large, they came away impressed.

"Obviously he's going to be a bellcow for somebody -- he's got that type of ability," said former NFL fullback Tom Rathman, who represented the Detroit Lions. "It's just a matter of him developing as a football player."

Clarett and two other former Ohio State teammates met privately with scouts at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Clarett had declined to work out at the NFL combine in February, so this was the first time scouts had seen the 20-year-old who could force his way into the draft later this month.

Clarett weighed in at 230 pounds, exactly his playing weight when he last took the field for the Buckeyes 15 months ago. He had times of 4.66, 4.63 and 4.67 seconds in his three 40-yard dashes, a standing long jump of 9 feet, 5 inches and a vertical jump of 36.5 inches. He lifted 225 pounds 19 times.

Almost every NFL team sent a scout. Clarett was joined in some of the drills by cornerback/wide receiver Chris Gamble and wide-out Drew Carter, who were Clarett's teammates on Ohio State's 2002 national championship team.

Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and scored 16 touchdowns -- both freshman records at Ohio State -- while leading the Buckeyes to a 14-0 record in 2002.

The NCAA suspended Clarett prior to last season for accepting improper benefits from a family friend and then lying about it to investigators. He sat out what would have been his sophomore season, then challenged the NFL in court. He won the first step in early February when a federal judge ruled that the NFL could not prevent underclassmen from being in the draft.

That decision is being appealed by the NFL and attorneys were filing briefs while Clarett prepared for Monday's workout. Clarett's antitrust attorney, Alan Milstein, said a decision on the appeal is expected well before the draft on April 24-25.

"The only thing that's unusual is the speed at which everything is getting done," Milstein said Monday. "No one has ever seen anything quite like it in terms of meeting deadlines."

Most of the scouts who stopped to talk to reporters after the workout were generally complimentary of Clarett.

Former NFL wide receiver Paul Warfield, representing the Miami Dolphins, said he wasn't concerned about what many would consider the slow times for Clarett in the 40.

"He's a proven player -- at least for one year -- in terms of his running ability," Warfield said. "He finds holes, he reads blocks exceptionally well and he played in one of the best conferences in college football. You look at production."

Some NFL scouts were miffed that Clarett declined to work out in February in Indianapolis when most other draft-bound players did. Warfield said Clarett was not entirely in shape for Monday's workout but still gave scouts a snapshot of his abilities.

"He certainly gave people an indicator of some of the things that he can do," Warfield said.

Rathman said Clarett was held back by a bad quarterback during his ball-catching segment.

"His skills drills were fine," Rathman said. "He has the ability to run the football, we know that."

Clarett avoided reporters on his way into the facility and on his way out.

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jpgordo
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posted April 15, 2004 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jpgordo   Click Here to Email jpgordo     Edit/Delete Message
Here's a look at where some teams may be drafting...
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/writers/b_duane_cross/04/15/mock.draft/?cnn=yes

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 19, 2004 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Federal appeals court rules former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett ineligible for NFL draft. Details soon.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 19, 2004 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Monday, April 19, 2004

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A stay was granted Monday by a federal appeals court until it rules on the NFL's appeal of an earlier decision that allowed Maurice Clarett and eventually Mike Williams to be part of the draft, ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli reports.

A stay in the proceedings technically will keep Clarett and Williams out of the draft Saturday at least temporarily, but a ruling could come down in their favor beforehand, which would make both eligible to be selected. If Clarett and Williams are declared eligible for the draft after it takes place, the NFL already has said the two would be part of a supplemental draft.

The ruling was faxed to all parties in the case only hours after the court heard the league's arguments, Pasquarelli reports. The ruling is expected to be announced later Monday afternoon. It's possible that Clarett, Williams and seven other undistinguished underclassmen could seek further recourse from the courts, but more unlikely that they can have the stay overturned before the draft begins.

Sources told Pasquarelli that there is a possibility that the parties could arrive at a middle ground -- perhaps a settlement that would permit Clarett and Williams to be included in a supplemental draft.

Federal appeals court judges and an NFL lawyer suggested that Clarett could go into a supplemental draft if he's ruled out of the main draft. The issue of the supplemental draft came up after the three judges questioned Clarett's lawyer, Alan Milstein, about whether the NFL must accept players who don't meet negotiated eligibility rules.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan asked Milstein why the NFL cannot exclude young athletes, suggesting the league was saying, "It's good for them, good for us and in the long run good for the sport."

Judge Sonia Sotomayer said it was not surprising that the union would agree to exclude players such as Clarett. "That's what unions do every day -- protect people in the union from those not in the union," she said.

Clarett, who played as a freshman at Ohio State and was ineligible as a sophomore, challenged the NFL rule that requires a player to be out of high school for three years before entering the draft. Southern Cal sophomore Mike Williams, who declared for the draft after a lower court ruled in Clarett's favor, also would be affected if the appeals court blocks Clarett.

Seven others also declared for the draft after the initial ruling, but none is a prospect.

Some kind of ruling is expected from the appeals court before the NFL draft, which is Saturday and Sunday.

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled in February that Clarett should be allowed in the draft. She said the rule excluding him violates antitrust law and unjustly blocks a player from pursuing his livelihood.

The appeals court could temporarily suspend Scheindlin's ruling until it issues its own full written decision. NFL lawyer Gregg A. Levy confirmed Monday what league officials said earlier: If a subsequent ruling makes Clarett eligible, the league later could hold a supplemental draft, something the NFL has done in the past for players who entered the draft late.

Ohio State suspended Clarett before last season for accepting money from a family friend and for lying about it to NCAA and university investigators.

In 2003, he rushed for 1,237 yards and led the Buckeyes to a national championship.

Clarett maintained he was not subject to the NFL's "three years out of high school" rule because it was not properly negotiated and because he was not in the union.

Milstein said Monday the NFL can't argue that players such as Clarett are not physically ready to play professionally. Williams is expected to be a first-round pick Saturday; Clarett is expected to be chosen in the second or third round.

"The teams are lining up to hire these guys ... because the teams know these players are ready to play," Milstein said.

He said only a "group boycott" by NFL teams would keep Clarett out of the league.

Milstein also argued that the NFL uses colleges as a "free and efficient" farm system for developing players.

"All of the risk is on the player," he wrote in court papers. "College football is a willing partner in this arrangement, as it generates millions of dollars for the colleges without their having to incur the expense of player salaries."

In written arguments, Levy told the appeals court that Scheindlin's ruling was "fundamentally inconsistent with both established economic principles and common sense."

He said the judge "strained to reach a decision that not only cannot be justified under this court's precedents but is also economically senseless."

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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indiedan
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posted April 22, 2004 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Chargers Told Not to Draft Eli Manning

By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO - Archie Manning apparently doesn't want his son to be stuck with a bad NFL team the way he was. San Diego general manager A.J. Smith said Wednesday night that Eli Manning's agent, Tom Condon, called to say Archie wished the Chargers would not select the top quarterback prospect with the first pick in Saturday's draft.

Condon also said Archie Manning feels the New York Giants (news) would be a better fit for his son, Smith said.

"We understand, but we'll do what's in the best interests of the San Diego Chargers (news)," Smith said.

Condon, who might think there would be more endorsement opportunities in New York than San Diego, has not returned phone calls for several days.

The Giants, who have the fourth pick, are one of three teams who have talked to the Chargers about trading for the No. 1 selection. In recent days, there were rumors Condon was trying to swing a trade between the Giants and Chargers.

The Chargers have missed the playoffs for the last eight seasons and are 43-85 since making their last postseason appearance, in 1995.

Smith said the elder Manning was in San Diego on business on Tuesday and stopped by to visit because he was unable to attend a private workout the team had with Eli Manning in New Orleans a few weeks ago.

Archie Manning was an outstanding player stuck on a dismal team, the New Orleans Saints (news), for most of his career. Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts (news) also is Archie's son and was the first overall pick in the 1998 draft. At the time, the Colts were a struggling franchise, too.

Condon also represents Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who as a rookie in 2001 missed all but five days of training camp during a contract holdout. He also represents coach Marty Schottenheimer and quarterback Drew Brees.

Then again, it's not a sure deal the Chargers would take Manning, who starred at Ole Miss.

After all, this is the franchise that passed on a chance to take Michael Vick at the top of the 2001 draft. And the one that was stuck with Ryan Leaf and his many troubles after the Colts took Peyton Manning with the top pick in 1998.

The Chargers have a number of options, and they're not showing their hand.

Asked Wednesday if the Chargers have a top guy in mind, Smith said: "That's still to be discussed. We have a few people in mind. A few real good players."

The Chargers finished their player assessments Wednesday, then put together their draft board.

"I enjoy the next two days because then we turn around and look at the board and think about who they are and what we want," Smith said. "There's plenty of time to decide."

Smith keeps saying there are four players at four different positions all worthy of being taken No. 1.

Manning is an excellent first guess. The Chargers have been looking for a quarterback since the end of their disastrous 4-12 season and didn't find one in free agency.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean Manning will soon be donning San Diego's lightning bolts.

Perhaps gun-shy about paying a big signing bonus to a No. 1 pick, San Diego could trade down and still get one of the top three quarterbacks, most likely Philip Rivers of North Carolina State. The Chargers could even trade down twice.

In the two weeks before the draft, the Giants (No. 4), Washington Redskins (news) (No. 5) and Cleveland Browns (No. 7) all called about the first pick.

The Chargers also like massive tackle Robert Gallery of Iowa. They need a left tackle to protect whomever their quarterback will be, but would they make Gallery just the third offensive lineman to go No. 1 overall?

Smith had been saying that starting 10 days before the draft, the Chargers would call the agents for the top three players and begin talking contract. As of Wednesday, he said, they hadn't started doing that.

That could change before Saturday.

"If not, we take the guy we want and move on," he said.

The Chargers are familiar with Rivers, who has a semi-sidearm delivery, because Schottenheimer coached him in the Senior Bowl, where Rivers impressed San Diego's coach.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 23, 2004 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Ex-NFL player Tillman killed in Afghanistan

(Reuters) - Former U.S. professional football player Pat Tillman, who gave up his lucrative sports career to join the military's elite special forces, has been killed in a firefight in Afghanistan, a U.S. official said on Friday. The official, who asked not to be identified, said Tillman was killed on Thursday. The 27-year-old soldier abruptly quit his National Football League career following the 2002 season and joined the Army a year after the attacks on America.

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fred
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posted April 24, 2004 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
San Francisco is on the clock.

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indiedan
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posted April 27, 2004 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Maddox meets with Steelers after team drafts QB

Tommy Maddox was the 2002 NFL comeback player of the year.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- An angered Tommy Maddox met Tuesday with Steelers coach Bill Cowher to discuss the team's use of a first-round draft pick on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Maddox, Pittsburgh's starting quarterback for the past two seasons, left the Steelers' training complex without talking to reporters and there was no word on what they discussed.

The meeting came three days after the Steelers added Roethlisberger, the only quarterback they have drafted on the first round since 1981. Roethlisberger is expected to become the starter by the 2005 season.

Maddox initially planned to talk to Cowher on Monday, but told his agent he was too upset to meet then. He also wanted to talk to Steelers chairman Dan Rooney or president Art Rooney II about his contract situation, but it is believed Tuesday's meeting was only with Cowher.

Maddox, the 2002 NFL comeback player of the year, is upset because the Steelers indicated to him before the draft they would choose a right tackle and not a quarterback.

Maddox also expected the team would renegotiate his $750,000 salary -- currently the lowest for an NFL veteran starting quarterback, but now realizes the addition of Roethlisberger may change that.

With the Steelers already close to the NFL's salary cap and Roethlisberger all but certain to get the richest rookie contract in their history, it is unlikely they can pay Maddox more money.

For now, the Steelers plan to go into the season with Maddox as the starter, though Cowher has not ruled out Roethlisberger starting sometime this season. However, some scouts expect Roethlisberger may take longer to become a starter than either the Giants' Eli Manning or the Chargers' Philip Rivers, the quarterbacks drafted ahead of him.

Despite Maddox's unhappiness, Cowher said he doesn't expect Roethlisberger's presence to affect how Maddox plays or practices. Wide receiver Plaxico Burress also expects Maddox to respond to the competition.

"I've been playing with him for two years now and I pretty much know he'll step up and defend his position," Burress said.

The Steelers have not said what they would do if Maddox, who will be 33 in September, asks to be released to pursue a job with another team. With nearly every NFL team now set at quarterback in advance of training camp, Maddox may not be able to find a team that would let him compete to start.

Even if the Maddox goes into the Steelers' training camp in late July as the starter, Cowher will not promise there won't be a training camp competition.

"I can't tell you right now how that's going to unfold," Cowher said. "I just know that I'm not going to sit here and say we're not going to do something. I'd like to stay open-minded about it and let it play out.

"He (is our incumbent starter; I'm not saying things can't change."

Maddox unexpectedly beat out Kordell Stewart to become the Steelers' starter three games into the 2002 season -- 10 years after he was first drafted by Denver -- and has held the job since.

Maddox led the Steelers to a 10-5-1 record and the second round of the playoffs that season, throwing for 2,836 yards, 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 13 games. Without the support of an effective running game, Maddox's production dropped last season as the Steelers slumped to a 6-10 record, even though his 3,414 yards passing were the second most in team history.

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fred
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posted May 04, 2004 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
101 days!

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NEWSFLASH
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posted May 18, 2004 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Jets Release Details on Manhattan Stadium

By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - The New York Jets (news) released details of their planned West Side stadium Tuesday, featuring wind turbines and solar collector tubes to generate much of its own electricity and hot water.

"We envision this as being the greenest building to date," said William Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox, the New York-based architecture firm designing the project.

In addition to housing the Jets, the $1.4 billion stadium would be integral to the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics, which got a boost Tuesday with the news that New York was chosen as one of five finalists to host the games.

Pedersen called the Olympic announcement "tremendously exciting" and said, "We feel we have a stadium that sets the right tone for it."

The stadium would be a rectangle bounded by 11th and 12th avenues and 30th and 33rd streets on the far West Side of Manhattan.

Pedersen said its design, which differs from the typical circular or oval stadium, is meant to fit seamlessly into the city's grid.

"It should feel as if it's very much connected into this particular place and as opposed to a stadium simply looking as if it could be anywhere, like a UFO landing from space," he said.

The south facade of the stadium would contain 25,000 solar collector tubes and the walls would be topped by 34 wind turbines, each 40 feet tall.

Pedersen said the windmills would generate almost all of the energy for the facility when it is being used as a football stadium and about 25 percent when it is being used as a convention and exhibition hall.

The Jets, whose lease at the Meadowlands in New Jersey expires in 2008, have committed to spending $800 million in private funds on the stadium. The city and state would add $300 million each to build a retractable roof and a deck over the existing rail yards.

The project, officially called the New York Sports and Convention Center, would anchor the city's plan to redevelop a large swath of that area.

Backers say the stadium would create 7,000 permanent jobs and 18,000 construction jobs and would be a good deal for the city and state. But community groups and many elected officials oppose using tax dollars for a sports facility when schools and city services are facing a budget crunch.

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