It’s becoming more and more clear that Jimmy Haslem isn’t swapping his minority stake in the Steelers for a minority stake in the Browns. And if/when Haslem, who we’re told owns a double-digit chunk of the Steelers, acquires control of the Browns from Randy Lerner, Haslem won’t be moving the team.
Pat McManamon of FOXSportsOhio.com reports that Lerner received “a complete and unconditional personal assurance that the team can never be moved from the city of Cleveland before he heard any details of the proposal.”
Of course, “a complete and unconditional personal assurance that the team can never be moved from the city of Cleveland” may not be worth the paper on which it may not have been written. Absent real teeth (like the provision that requires Jags owner Shahid Khan to pay former owner Wayne Weaver an extra $25 million if the team leaves Jacksonville within five years), Haslem can do whatever he wants, once the ink is dry.
That said, the other 31 owners would have something to say about that. The league’s relocation policy contemplates the existence of a stadium issue that can’t be resolved before any team will move. In Cleveland, where there’s a fairly new stadium that was built after the last team abruptly bolted due to a stadium issue, chances are the league won’t let the Browns leave.
And that they won’t approve Haslem as the new owner absent a clear commitment that he won’t try to move them.