5-22-01, 7:10 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
ROSEMONT, Ill. _ While some NFL owners celebrated Monday's lawsuit victory over the Oakland Raiders with champagne, Bengals President Mike Brown offered a sobering view.
He wouldn't be surprised if the 9-3 verdict is appealed and he wonders where the league is headed if it's always going to court.
"I looked at the agate type this morning on the sports page and I was surprised to see how many times the Raiders have sued us since 1982," Brown said Tuesday here at the NFL owners' meetings.
"It's seemingly gone on forever," Brown said. "I hope this is the end of it, but that's probably too much to hope. I wish we could get back to settling these problems internally."
After a jury ruled the NFL didn't shut Raiders boss Al Davis out of the Los Angeles market, Brown, hoped Davis would shed his maverick ways when it comes to settling disputes.
"Al almost has an obsession with coming up with what he feels is justice in these matters," Brown said. "It isn't good for the league. I even wonder if it's in the self-interest of the Raiders to go on like this. I think it's best to settle it internally. Sometimes you don't get what you want, but let the chips fall and you move on."
NEW PRE-SEASON: Don't say good-bye to Jacksonville and Tennessee just yet. And maybe start waving good-bye to Indianapolis and Detroit.
The NFL plans to take over scheduling pre-season games for at least the next five years in an attempt to match up teams that have been moved from long-time rivals.
"We like the fact the league is involved in that," said Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn. "There are reasons we like to play certain teams. Indy because it's close and Detroit because it's the other conference. But this will be a chance to mix it up a little bit so the fans can see some teams they maybe haven't seen before."
The Bengals have played both Indianapolis and Detroit every year in the preseason since 1992 and Detroit every year but 1968 and 1969.
THIS AND THAT: Fullback Nick Williams undergoes reconstructive knee surgery Thursday in Birmingham, Ala. . .That's where linebacker Takeo Spikes (shoulder) expects to get cleared Wednesday so he can practice next week.