With the St. Louis Rams set to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 NFL season, the time is ripe for stories of When Franchise Relocations Go Wrong.
In 1995, kicker Matt Stover signed a four-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Then he bought a modest house with his wife. Then owner Art Modell announced the team was moving to Baltimore.
"Obviously, we didn't have any control over it," Stover recounted to The Orange County (Calif.) Register. "We had to move. So we thought, 'The [team is] going to help us. They're going to move us.'
"Well, that's not what happened."
Stover said he lost $50,000 in the relocation process, none of which the organization reimbursed, partly because of where he took up residence in the time between seasons. When he petitioned the league in 1996 for compensation for relocating players, the NFL said yes. The Browns did not.
"It would cost millions of dollars," said Stover, who remained with the Ravens until 2008 and retired as the franchise's all-time leading scorer. "So they said no because they didn't have to do it. I understand; I get it. But basically, the organization just said, 'See you in Baltimore.' "
Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne, who moved with the Browns, told ESPN that the move made things "testy" with players.
"Players came to us and said: 'You told us seven, eight months ago to be part of the community and buy a house and now I have to sell?' " he recalled.