I had a phone conversation today with John Semcken. He's the VP of Majestic Realty Co., the group building an $800 million stadium in the City of Industry. Semcken was effusive about the project and was confident a team would be playing in the stadium by 2011. He said that 15.5 million people live within an hour and half's drive from the site. And because the stadium literally will be built inside a mountain (or big hill), the infrastructure costs are lower than that of a free-standing structure. In January and February, he said, the Majestic group would begin wooing a team - or perhaps two - to Los Angeles. It sort of sounds like an NFL version of The Bachelor.
Which team will be presented with a rose?
Semcken was more tight-lipped on that topic. Majestic owner Ed Roski, who co-owns the Staples Center, previously has identified seven teams that could make the move. Not surprisingly, they are the seven teams that currently have the lousiest stadium deals: the Bills, Saints, Chargers, Jaguars, Vikings, Raiders and 49ers. That list, however, may now be down to six. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Vikings have declined Roski's overtures. The most natural move would be by one of the three California teams, each of which plays in a crummy stadium. Said Commissioner Roger Goodell when asked about the subject by CBS Sportline:
"Well, they are (the three worst), and that's the reality of it. And it's something we raised frequently. Our stadium situation in California is not very good, and we need to improve those facilities. The fans demand it. They're seeing new facilities in other sports. And it's something we think is necessary for our fan base out there. So we are working to try to address it."
When I asked Jed York about the L.A. proposal last week, he was unequivocal in his response: "We have not had any communication with Roski, his group, the NFL or anyone regarding L.A." The Yorks have been asked the L.A. question many times before and have insisted each time that the 49ers will remain in the Bay Area. Semcken, meanwhile, said he wouldn't reveal the names of the teams his group was targeting because it would hamstring ticket sales for that team in its current market. The Majestic group also is leery of running afoul of the NFL, which, of course, would have to approve such a move. "If we get our way, nobody will know who we're talking to until we have a deal," Semcken said.
Safety Michael Lewis (back) and tight end Delanie Walker (calf) did not practice today but are listed as probable on the injury report. Also probable are Parys Haralson (shoulder) and Aubrayo Franklin (knee), both of whom practiced. What does that mean? It means every player ought to be available for Sunday's game. Take a bow, 49ers training staff ...
Asked about the starter at split end, Nolan said that it could be either Bryant Johnson or Josh Morgan depending on the formation and the personnel group. In other words, both look to play a lot ...
-- Matt Barrows