London — The NFL would put a full-time franchise in London only if all operational issues are worked out and the league is sure the team would be competitive, a league executive said Thursday.
Mark Waller, executive vice president of the NFL’s international division, said there is no set time frame for placing a team in London, adding a decision will come “when we’re ready.”
The NFL has played 11 regular-season games in London since 2007. Wembley Stadium hosts three games this season.
NFL officials recently announced a 10-year deal to play at least two games each season at Premier League club Tottenham’s new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2018.
The Jaguars have a four-season deal, which expires in 2016, to play at least one home game per season at Wembley.
NFL officials have said they envision having a franchise in London one day, though many issues still need to be resolved, and they want to be sure an overseas team would be profitable.
“The key for us is that we’ve got to build real certainty that any team that was to make that undertaking could truly be competitive,” Waller said. “The last thing we would ever want to do is to put a franchise in a place where the logistics, the travel, the sourcing of players, the infrastructure for supporting teams through a season doesn’t exist.”
The games at Wembley have been sellouts, and the NFL has built up a solid fan base in the United Kingdom, where soccer, rugby and cricket are still the most popular sports.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is among those pushing for a full-time team in the capital.
“We feel very comfortable from a fan perspective, from a sponsor and a stadium perspective now, that we have all of the right things in place,” Waller said. “The one thing that we’ve got to do more work on is how would it work from a team operational standpoint?”
For the first time, the NFL is holding games on back-to-back weekends in London this season — the Jaguars against the Bills on Oct. 25, followed by the Lions and Chiefs on Nov. 1. Wembley is also hosting its first division rivalry game, an AFC East contest between the Dolphins and Jets.
Use of drones OK’d
The NFL’s sky-high popularity will now include drones.
League officials have received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration for limited use of drones.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the drones will not be used on the day of games — the league prohibits the use of drones on game day in stadiums and in parking lots.
McCarthy said NFL Films will be allowed to use drones and teams may film their own practices if they comply with local, state and federal guidelines.
“NFL Films will use the unique visual images captured by drones to enhance their filmmaking and storytelling,” he said.
Eight weeks after he sprained his right knee on the first day of training camp, Ravens rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman returned to practice as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Bengals.
Perriman, the 25th overall pick in the draft, has rehabbed largely out of the public eye since hurting his knee July 30.
He is the son of former Lions receiver Brett Perriman.
Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (concussion) missed practice, raising questions about whether he’ll miss his second straight game Sunday against the Saints.
Coach Ron Rivera says the 2013 defensive player of the year remains in the league’s concussion protocol.
Rivera says Kuechly is “chomping at the bit” to play.
... Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, wide receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Ivory are all questionable for Sunday’s game against the Eagles because of injuries.
... Jaguars right guard Brandon Linder was held out of practice, a day after he “kind of separated” his left shoulder during a passing drill.
Linder says he’s “50-50” to play against the Patriots. If Linder can’t play, Tyler Shatley or rookie A.J. Cann would start.
Left tackle Luke Joeckel (sprained left ankle) was limited for the second consecutive day.
The line, with veteran Sam Young at left tackle, didn’t allow a sack for the first time since October 2013. The Jaguars had allowed at least four sacks in eight consecutive games.
... Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (right ankle) and tight end Jordan Cameron (groin) have returned to practice on a limited basis, but defensive tackle Earl Mitchell has been added to the injury report after hurting his back.
Left tackle Branden Albert (right hamstring) is sidelined.
Limited for the second day in a row were safety Reshad Jones (hamstring), tight end Dion Sims (concussion) and center Mike Pouncey (elbow).