Goodell acknowledges 'issues' for Rams to play in London

The NFL has already announced that the St. Louis Rams will host the New England Patriots for a regular-season game in London in 2012.

But now the future of that game – as well as the three-year commitment to have the Rams play there once annually – is in doubt.

The issue that hasn’t been tackled is the Rams’ lease at the Edward Jones Dome that states it must play all home games there. Whether this was overlooked before the announcement or the club and league officials figured they could wiggle past it, who knows.

But it’s a stumbling block now and commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged as much this morning at his press conference.

“We’re going to play the London games,” Goodell said. “We hope it will be with the Rams and the New England Patriots next year. That’s what we planned. I think it’s great for the city of St. Louis to be able to get that global exposure, but there are issues that are going to have to get resolved.”

It could be the London experience is part of a bargaining tool for owner Stan Kroenke, who wants serious upgrades to the Dome in order to remain in St. Louis. Either way, something needs to be worked out here because the club cannot simply ignore the lease it has.

Goodell said one way or another, the NFL will have a game in London this coming season, so that makes you wonder if there is a contingency plan that has been hatched.

According to Goodell, the NFL would like to have a regular-season game played in Mexico again in the near future. Presumably that will not involve the Rams, at least not as a home game.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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