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NFL executive warns San Diego time is running short on Chargers stadium

SAN DIEGO -- In a conversation with the San Diego mayor's citizens' stadium advisory group on Tuesday, NFL executive Eric Grubman provided a heavy dose of reality.

"It's obvious that no proposal has gained the support and enthusiasm of the Chargers -- that's obvious," Grubman said in press conference with reporters after the meeting. "So you don't need me to tell you that."

Although the task force selected Mission Valley -- where Qualcomm Stadium currently is located -- as its preferred site, Grubman did not rule out further examination of the downtown site as a potential location for new NFL stadium in San Diego. While the Chargers have said they are are neutral on site location, the team indicated their preferred site is downtown.

"If you start out with the key parties that have to support these things on different pages, it's certainly a recipe for delay," Grubman said. "It's probably a recipe for failure."

Further, Grubman said the stadium advisory group needs to move quickly in putting together an agreed-upon finance by the end of the year, or the Chargers could move forward with a proposal to relocate to a $1.7 billion stadium shared with the Oakland Raiders in Carson by next season.

Grubman said that differences between the Chargers and the city take on an even greater importance because the time frame to get something done is short. One of the reasons each of the home markets are on a tight time frame is that the competing projects for NFL stadiums in Inglewood, developed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and Carson are both on pace to start construction by 2016.

The NFL would consider moving up the relocation application window from January 1 and February 15 of 2016 to the end of this year to accommodate those projects in Los Angeles, Grubman said.

"At this point of time, I think it's more likely that we would move it up than leave it the same or delay it, unless something happens to knock one or more of the projects off of its pace," he said.

Representatives of the Raiders, Chargers and Rams will offer their most detailed stadium plans to date at the NFL's committee on Los Angeles opportunities in New York next week in anticipation of the full owners group convening at the end of May in San Francisco.

"It's a very attractive market," Grubman said about Los Angeles. "It now has two projects being sponsored by clubs -- one of which is fully entitled, one of which is on the verge of entitlement. And those things create a momentum, which we are happy about. And I don't see anything right now that's going to change that momentum in the short term."

Grubman said any financing tied to a stadium project requiring a public vote in San Diego would need to happen in the calendar year, or risk the team leaving to Carson by 2016.

"A project has to be conceived and designed, which has to get the support of the team, in my opinion," Grubman said. "It has to have funding sources that are identified, and if those funding sources require a vote, then you have to go get the vote. And to wait until the end of next year to get the vote it seems to me to be very risky."

Along with a meeting with the stadium advisory group, Grubman met briefly with San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. There's no future meeting in San Diego currently scheduled, but Grubman did tell the task force he would make himself available if needed.

Adam Day, chair of the stadium advisory group, said the meeting with Grubman was productive.

"We had a very candid conversation," Day said. "He understood where we were coming from. We walked through what we accomplished in the last 12 weeks, that's never been done in San Diego in the last 12 years, if not longer. We understood more from him the dynamics from the league and the owners, and the pressures of the team in Los Angeles.

"We've said from Day 1 that we need to get the point where everyone can agree. If the city and the team do not agree then we're all wasting our time. So we're not here to waste our time."