Browns owner Randy Lerner reportedly has received an assurance that prospective owner Jimmy Haslam won’t move the team. And, as we’ve explained, a second move of the Browns in roughly two decades likely wouldn’t go over well with the other 31 owners.
It also wouldn’t go over well with the city of Cleveland. As a result, Mayor Frank Jackson (pictured) has issued a statement regarding the possibility (albeit remote) that the Browns will bolt, again. Here’s the full text, via WTAM 1100:
“The Cleveland Browns have some of the most loyal and passionate fans which have helped make it one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world.
“The city took precautionary measures to ensure that fans would be able to cheer on the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium for years to come. The 30-year lease to the Cleveland Browns commenced in 1999 and continues to 2029.
“This lease, like the prior Municipal Stadium lease for which the City of Cleveland successfully obtained an injunction in 1995, requires the Browns to play all their regular season and playoff home games in the Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“If this requirement is not honored the city has legal options that could be pursued if necessary.”
So there you have it. Cleveland believes the Browns are tied to Cleveland through 2029, at a minimum. Whether the lease contains language that would allow an earlier escape, with a buyout or otherwise, isn’t immediately known.
Whether it will matter seems to be more clear. Haslam doesn’t seem to be buying the Browns with the intent of moving the Browns.