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OAKLAND NOT GREENER FOR DAVIS.

Byline: Associated Press

Raiders owner Al Davis, who claims his team could lose $10 million this season, ridiculed Tuesday the $198 million deal that brought his club back to Oakland last year.

Davis said the Raiders face a shortfall this season because of disappointing sales of luxury boxes at the Coliseum. And taxpayers ultimately may incur some of the costs to cover the $198 million in bonds.

``I was greatly concerned that Oakland could not handle the deal economically,'' Davis said of his fears when he brought his club back after 13 seasons in Los Angeles. ``A lot went wrong. The people in charge couldn't get it done. They were kind of economically false.''

The Raiders (5-7) have sold out only one home game since the Oakland Coliseum was renovated and expanded to 62,500 seats before this season. That $130 million renovation was part of the 16-year deal that lured the team back to Oakland.

The empty seats pose financial dangers to the Raiders and to Oakland taxpayers.

The money to pay off those bonds is supposed to be recouped by selling personal seat licenses, which fans need before they can buy season tickets. About 35,000 of the PSLs, which range from $250 to $4,000 per seat, have been sold - about 9,000 short of the break-even point.

``The diabolical problem is that the community has to sell the PSLs and we have to sell the tickets. If it means we have to sell the PSLs in order to sell the tickets, it's a problem,'' Davis said. ``The PSLs will always be a problem.''

By suggesting that PSL sales no longer be a prerequisite for purchasing tickets, Davis, 67, touched on an area that has infuriated city officials and some PSL owners.

Davis has denied reports of heart trouble.

Bono benched: Ineffective quarterback Steve Bono was benched Tuesday by Kansas City Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer, who will give backup Rich Gannon an opportunity to get the offense rolling.

Gannon, who started 35 games for the Minnesota Vikings from 1990-92 until he was replaced by Sean Salisbury, replaced Bono after the San Diego Chargers had taken a 28-0 lead Sunday.

Gannon led the Chiefs to two scores in the 28-14 loss, but the game had been decided by then by a Chargers team that pushed around a proud Chiefs defense.

``We will start Rich Gannon at quarterback on Thursday against Detroit,'' Schottenheimer said after practice Tuesday. ``This is not based on anything he did Sunday.

``It is not based in any fashion on what Steve has failed to do. It is based on one thing and that is Gannon's athletic ability to provide the big play that we sorely need.''

Emmitt in for now: Expect struggling Emmitt Smith to start in the Thanksgiving Day game against the Washington Redskins despite a gimpy right ankle.

But Dallas Cowboys will turn to Sherman Williams or Herschel Walker if Smith doesn't produce.

``Emmitt doesn't have the quickness he's had in the past,'' coach Barry Switzer said Tuesday in Irving, Texas. ``We could use both Sherman and Herschel.''

Smith gained only 18 yards in 11 carries in the Cowboys' 20-6 loss to the New York Giants Sunday. He has a sore ankle, but an MRI test was negative.

How much Smith will play will be determined at game time on Thursday when the Cowboys, 7-5 in the NFC East, take on the division-leading Redskins (8-4).

Taking aim at Fontes: Wayne's world drew just a little bit dimmer, if that is possible.

Wayne Fontes, the embattled Detroit Lions coach, took verbal shots from his quarterback and his center.

Before practice, quarterback Scott Mitchell was asked if the Lions mental attitude should be simply to go all out against the Chiefs.

``I don't know if we've had any mentality this year,'' said Mitchell, who threw three interceptions in Sunday's 31-14 loss at Chicago. ``There hasn't been any continuity. It's been a grab-bag thing. I don't know why.

``We just tried to do so many things. It's hard to be consistent that way. We haven't settled on any one thing.''

The Lions (5-7), who have lost five of their last six to all but eliminate themselves from playoff contention, host the Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) on Thanksgiving Day.

Kevin Glover, a 12-year veteran who was the starting NFC center in the last Pro Bowl, was asked if fans were right in directing their ire at Fontes.

``Well, that's his job and he has to take the heat, so we can't really concern ourselves with that, either,'' Glover said.

Williams gets reprieve from jail, for now: Rookie cornerback Tyrone Williams of the Green Bay Packers won't have to begin serving a six-month jail sentence Dec. 3 in connection with a 1994 shooting incident.

The judge who sentenced Williams last week in Lincoln, Neb., decided that the former Nebraska player could remain free on $5,000 bond until the state Court of Appeals reviews the case.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Disappointing PSL sales in Oakland leave Raiders owner Al Davis with little to smile about. The club could lose $10 million this season.

Associated Press
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 27, 1996
Words:858
Previous Article:L.A. KIDS COME OUT AND PLAY.
Next Article:SLAIN 3-YEAR-OLD REMEMBERED AS SPIRITED, LOVING : ENDING IN AV EDITION.


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