Could Rice Be Next NFL Commish?

Published March 20, 2006

| Associated Press

Condoleezza Rice, a bona fide football fan, is not applying for the newly opened post of NFL commissioner -- not now, anyhow, her spokesman said carefully on Monday.

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said he noticed the job opening right before his daily briefing.

"At the moment, the secretary is enjoying being secretary of state," said McCormack of his boss, an avid Cleveland Browns fan.

The wiggle-room in his response after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced he would retire resonated off frequent only half-joking statements by Rice that as a lifelong football fan she aspires to run the league one day.

Speculation has been rampant that she might also wind up on the Republican ticket in 2008, though she has repeatedly denied any interest in running for president.

The owner of the New England Patriots, Bob Kraft, for one, seems to be in Rice's corner for the football post.

Kraft told CNBC that he had dinner with Rice a few months ago and found her to be "tremendously capable and highly competent."

"I am flattered that she is interested in joining us," Kraft said. "But, of course, I am only one of 32."

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