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Ex-Rams in discussions about MLS team here

Ex-Rams in discussions about MLS team here

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St. Louis Rams v Chicago Bears

St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long gestures to the crowd after the Rams forced a fumble on Chicago's first offensive play of the game in first quarter action during a game between the St. Louis Rams and the Chicago Bears on Sunday Nov. 24, 2013, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

A majority owner has yet to be identified in St. Louis' pursuit of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. But it's possible that some of the minority investors will be ex-St. Louis Rams.

Defensive end Chris Long, now a member of the New England Patriots, told the Post-Dispatch he has been involved with discussions on the topic with the St. Louis group, which includes Dave Peacock.

"I've been told that I will have an update in a couple weeks," Long said via text message. "I'm still very interested. Hopefully the dialogue will continue."

After eight seasons with the Rams – only nine players were with the team longer in St. Louis – Long was released in a salary cap-related move Feb. 20. At the time, Long said he hoped to stay involved off the field with St. Louis, and in particular expressed an interest in being part of an MLS team here.

Things obviously have progressed since then, but to what degree is uncertain. Since the formation of MLS2STL in mid-February – just a couple of days prior to Long's Rams release – the group has been very low-key.

Peacock, the former Anheuser-Busch executive, led the failed effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis. He is vacationing in Ireland and was unavailable for comment.

Another name that has been mentioned as a potential investor is Aeneas Williams, the Hall of Fame defensive back who still lives in St. Louis. After the Legends of the Dome game, Williams was asked about being part-owner of an MLS team here, and was more cautious in his remarks.

"Nothing to that at this time," Williams said. "I don't have a whole lot of information."

Williams did say he has "communicated" with Peacock on the subject.

"But only in keeping in contact with him to see how that project is going. No commitments or anything like that. There's not anything imminent right now. Just keeping in contact, checking the pulse, and seeing how the project is going."

But on the subject of being a part owner, Williams also added, "I wouldn't rule out anything. This community, soccer is huge here. I don't understand a lot of components of soccer. But for it to be the world's No.1 sport is something certainly we better take a look at."

In April, MLS commissioner Don Garber listed St. Louis and Sacramento as leading candidates for expansion teams. The league currently has 20 teams but would like to expand to 28 no sooner than 2020.

Four expansion teams are already in line; Atlanta, Los Angeles (which would be a second LA team), Minnesota, and Miami. But the timetable for the additional four has not been set.

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