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Saturday, March 16, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pro Football -- Cincinnati Tax Gets NFL Support

AP

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Bengals, trying to convince voters to approve a sales tax increase to build a new stadium, have the backing of NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

He told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he was surprised Bengal owner Mike Brown stayed around to lobby for a new stadium in Cincinnati rather than take Baltimore's offer to move the team.

"Mike felt his best judgment was he should have taken the Baltimore deal a year ago, but he stayed only out of loyalty and a sense of respect for what the Bengals and Cincinnati have done together since the late '60s," Tagliabue said.

Brown said the team needs the additional money that a larger stadium with luxury boxes would generate.

Hamilton County voters will be asked on Tuesday to approve a one-half cent sales tax increase to pay for a $544 million project to build new stadiums for the Bengals and the Cincinnati Reds.

Notes

-- Chicago signed offensive tackle James "Big Cat" Williams to a four-year, $9.2 million contract.

-- Dean Prater, 37, a former special teams player for three teams including the Buffalo Bills, drowned Thursday after falling in a hotel bathtub in Horseheads, N.Y., team officials said.

-- Tom Tupa, former Cleveland Browns punter, signed with the New England Patriots for undisclosed terms.

-- Doug Flutie, a four-time Canadian Football League Most Outstanding Player, will reportedly earn $2 million with bonuses from a two-year contract with the Toronto Argonauts. Flutie played the past four seasons for the Calgary Stampeders.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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