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Lions Tossed Out of Silverdome

November 28, 2001

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ No wonder the Detroit Lions are 0-10.

A lease dispute over when the Lions will move to a new stadium has prevented the team from practicing in the Silverdome. The Lions thought they could finally use the stadium on Wednesday _ but they were forced back out to a bubble in the parking lot.

``We thought that a conclusion had been reached,″ Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg said. ``We’re trying to win a game, and we wanted to practice on the best field available.″

The team has been banned for several weeks from using the stadium for practices because the city of Pontiac is suing the Lions for breaking a 30-year lease at the Silverdome. Pontiac seeks an injunction requiring the team to remain there until its lease expires in 2006.

The Lions want to open the 2002 season at Ford Field, a $315 million stadium under construction in downtown Detroit.

On Wednesday, Mornhinweg led his players out onto the Silverdome turf. But shortly after practice started, he had to pull his players off the field, and they moved to the bubble to finish the 90-minute practice.

Silverdome officials said the Lions should have known they weren’t to use the stadium.

``The Pontiac Silverdome notified the Detroit Lions the stadium field would be unavailable for practices more than five weeks ago,″ spokeswoman Carrie Cioffi said in a statement. ``The minidome and outside practice facilities have been and continue to remain available to the Detroit Lions.″

A judge ordered Lions and city officials to meet Wednesday in an attempt to settle the lawsuit over the early departure from the Silverdome. The trial is scheduled to start Tuesday.

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