PHOENIX -- The NFL is coming back to Los Angeles, probably as soon as 2016. Giants owner John Mara joined the chorus of optimistic owners -- notably Jerry Jones, who's been the league's most public cheerleader for a return to L.A. -- who seem to have accepted the inevitable now that the city has legitimate stadium options.
The most legitimate of those stadium options is Stan Kroenke's Hollywood Park project in Inglewood. By all accounts, Kroenke wants to leave the Midwest for Southern California. His Inglewood plan has the community's political backing and the private financing to make it work. All it needs now is the NFL's approval to relocate Kroenke's Rams from St. Louis back to the city they left after the 1994 season.
Designs for Kroenke's stadium were revealed over the weekend ahead of the league meetings in Arizona, a timely move that was no accident. The lobbying is expected to begin in earnest on Monday when the meeting starts.
Unfortunately for Kroenke, it's a three-team race right now, with the Chargers and Raiders both eyeing new homes because of their current stadium lease situations. Those two teams are pitching a new place in Carson, while attempts to get something done in Oakland and San Diego stagnate. Meanwhile in St. Louis, there's an effort there to get a new stadium built on the riverfront, complete with designs.
So what does Kroenke's L.A. stadium plan have the St. Louis plan doesn't? For one thing, it has money behind it. The St. Louis task force has a vague plan for extending bonds on the Edward Jones Dome -- part of a sweetheart deal which the state's taxpayers took a bath on as part of the efforts to lure the Rams to St. Louis in the first place -- to help pay for the riverfront stadium, but it does not have the support of the Missouri Legislature, which it will probably need to make it happen.
Beyond that, the St. Louis task force seems to have other details to fill in for its plan. For instance, nobody has actually talked to business owners in the area where the stadium would be built.
The plans for a stadium in Carson, Calif., advanced a little further too, with enough signatures now collected to get the measure on a ballot. The Chargers will own the 168-acre plot of land by the end of the month, when the real estate deal closes, and Goldman Sachs is reportedly lining up financing to pay for the $1.7 billion facility. The Chargers are also involved in trying to find a workable stadium solution in their current city; Rams owner Stan Kroenke has not been involved in stadium development efforts in St. Louis. The Carson project has a few more hurdles to clear before it catches up to the progress of the Inglewood stadium.
No decisions are actually going to be made this week. The NFL still has plenty of work to do, namely straddling the politics of the three teams eligible to relocate. That's leading to all kinds of speculation, some of it informed, that includes wacky scenarios of the Raiders moving to St. Louis.
Going to the Dawgs: The NFL's reality show, Hard Knocks, could very well feature the Browns this year. They're considered the frontrunners. YES!
Second chances: A handful of NFL players you were probably excited about once upon a time (hello, Adam Carriker) got together in Arizona on Sunday for the veteran combine and one more shot at the NFL. A lot of general managers were there, including John Dorsey from the Chiefs and Reggie McKenzie from the Raiders, probably ready to hand out ill-advised free agent contracts.
Former Lions running back Mikel Leshoure was one of the notable performers with a 4.61-second 40 time, which isn't bad for a guy who tore his Achilles. Michael Sam was there too, but the media circus that NFL coaches are so afraid of was not there to see him.
Here's the veteran combine summed up in one statement:
Michael Bush when he learned he ran a 4.91 40 at the Veteran Combine: 'You gotta be ****ing me. 4.91? There you go, there goes my career.'— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) March 22, 2015
Don't ever give up your dreams, kids ... until it's clearly time to give up your dreams.
Scheme vs. talent: This used to conjure up images of coaches set in their ways and trying to stuff an outside linebacker into a defensive end position (or, conversely, Al Davis drafting the players with the best 40 times). These days everyone's wondering about Chip Kelly's scheme and the strange list of offseason personnel moves it has apparently motivated. The question now is whether or not he has the parts to make it work.
A Hoss returns: James Harrison was retired briefly last year, before a Steelers team hurting for pass rushers re-signed him. Harrison turned out to be a pretty effective contributor in a part-time role, with 5.5 sacks and 28 more pressures in fewer than 500 snaps. He's back again this year, though he never really retired this time. The Steelers need all the pass rushing help they can get after Jason Worilds' retirement -- he and Harrison were the team's two most productive pass rushers in 2014. Harrison, who turns 37 in May, will supposedly keep his part-time role, but if the team can't get more pass rush pop out of the disappointing Jarvis Jones, he may be forced to start.
Deja vu all over again: The Cowboys have plenty of experience with controversial players, but is Greg Hardy a step too far?
Chip's to trade: Who's to stop Chip Kelly from making another madcap trade or two this year? NOBODY. And if he does have another move up his sleeve, he's still got a few prized players on his roster to move.
Great moments in Internet commenting: Don't troll Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on Instagram.