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Friday, June 13, 1997
Adams says Astrodome lease ended, team move
already under way
By TERESA M. WALKER / AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Both sides signed off on the Oilers'
lease with the Astrodome on Thursday, finally freeing the NFL
franchise to move to Tennessee, team owner Bud Adams said.
"We still have some legal work, some paper work to get
done on that, but the Astrodome signing today should put everything
to bed pretty quick," Adams said at a news conference where
he unveiled the Oilers' revised logo.
Harris County and Houston officials have not yet signed off
on their part of the deal letting the Oilers escape Texas a year
early. A vote isn't expected by the Harris County Commission before
That hasn't stopped the Oilers from tearing down pictures at
their Houston practice facility and dismantling other equipment.
Three truckloads of computers and files for the team's ticket
office left Houston on Monday, bound for Memphis.
The Oilers will pack up the remaining equipment at their Texas
headquarters by July 10 for the move to Tennessee, general manager
Floyd Reese said. Training camp begins July 18 at Tennessee State
University, and the team's new practice facility will open as
scheduled Aug. 15, he said.
Adams said the new ticket office at the Liberty Bowl Memorial
Stadium, where the Oilers will play their home games until their
new stadium in Nashville is completed, has been set up and will
start selling season tickets Monday.
"Right now we're just concentrating on getting the team
over here," Adams said.
When the Oilers take the field Aug. 2 for their first game
in Tennessee, an exhibition game with the New Orleans Saints,
players will wear their powder blue uniforms with only a patch
on the left shoulder and on the back of each helmet commemorating
the inaugural season here.
Adams showed off the new logo, which features the traditional
blue oil derrick on a background of a slanted, red Tennessee flag
with the words "Tennessee Oilers" along the bottom and
the number "97" beside the derrick. At the top edge
is a blue circle with three white stars from the state flag.
"The folks at NFL Properties are now working on our uniforms,"
Adams said. "We'll use this uniform this year, but being
our inaugural year, we wanted to have something with Tennessee
on the Oiler jerseys and helmets."
The relocation that was first announced in August 1995 has
been delayed repeatedly, first by a local referendum by Nashville
voters, then by an Ohio congressman who wanted to penalize leagues
for moving franchises and most recently by the paperwork tying
the Oilers to the Astrodome through the 1997 season.
Team officials spent the past few months negotiating with representatives
from the Astrodome, Harris County and Houston before finally reaching
a tentative agreement last month. Send a Letter to
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Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications
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