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Cards' stadium has 1 site left

The Gila River Indian Community pulled out of the bidding for the Cardinals' proposed $350-million stadium, leaving Mesa as the lone finalist for the site.

Tribal officials said Thursday their decision was based on potential interference by state lawmakers and a legal opinion issued Wednesday by Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley.

Romley said he had "significant concerns whether the proposed joint relationship between the county and the tribal communities complies with Arizona law," and the county might have to assume financial liability if it agreed to sponsor the Gila River site south of Phoenix.

The state Legislature could amend the law to let tribes bid independently, but a bill on the subject was killed Monday by the Senate Government Committee.

At a news conference, Gila River Lt. Gov. Richard Narcia said the community was formally withdrawing its stadium proposal because "we are disappointed by the recent actions of the county attorney and a few lawmakers to insert politics into this debate at the 11th hour.

"It is apparent by the actions of these individuals that they are not interested in having Indian communities participate in this process as full partners," Narcia added. "While we believe the community's site was superior to others, we believe that our community and the people of Arizona deserve a more positive result and less controversy."

UNION VOTE: Raiders defensive end Trace Armstrong was re-elected to a fourth term as president of the National Football League Players Association.

At the NFLPA's board of player representatives meeting, five new executive committee members were elected: Brian Mitchell of the Eagles; Robert Griffith, Browns; Troy Vincent, Eagles; Kevin Mawae, Jets; and Ernie Conwell, Rams. They filled vacancies caused by the retirements of Robert Smith, Lester Archambeau, Eugene Robinson, Mike Tomczak and Nolan Harrison.

The player representatives also re-elected executive committee members Ray Brown of the 49ers; Jason Belser, Chiefs; Robert Porcher, Lions; Tim Brown, Raiders; and Eddie George, Titans. Executive committee members serve two-year terms.

The board voted to increase player dues from $5,000 to $10,000 per year, the first increase in nine years.

Background checks on perspective agents will be conducted by the union and will include criminal, civil, regulatory and self-regulatory proceedings and a credit history.

Finally, the union's board passed a resolution requiring any college player headed for the draft wait at least 30 days before terminating a written, signed agreement with an agent. Any agent who is found to have tampered with that player during that period will be subject to union discipline.

PETITION REJECTED: The Arkansas Supreme Court rejected a petition to rehear the case of former defensive back Raphel Cherry, convicted in January 2001 in the strangulation death of his wife.

TEXAS SCRIMMAGE: Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he wants to hold a scrimmage with the expansion Texans on Aug. 2 in Houston. Jones said he needs to work out the details with Houston owner Bob McNair.

CHARGERS: Free-agent tight end Stephen Alexander signed a five-year deal.

DOLPHINS: Miami re-signed safety and special-teams player Scott McGarrahan to a three-year contract.

EAGLES: Punter Sean Landeta signed a one-year deal worth about $750,000.

JETS: Guard Dave Szott, a 12-year veteran, signed a $4.2-million, three-year deal to replace Kerry Jenkins, who left for the Bucs.

PACKERS: Free-agent defensive end Joe Johnson agreed in principle to a multiyear contract.

RAIDERS: Oakland re-signed former Bucs offensive lineman Frank Middleton and signed defensive lineman Mike Mohring and defensive back Terrance Shaw.

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