The folks at ESPN 850 in Cleveland are mongering a “giant” rumor that the Browns are in the process of being sold. Tony Rizzo of ESPN 850 isn’t reporting (yet) that there’s a deal in place, but he says there is “smoke and fire” and that no one from the Browns has gotten back to him about the situation.
It’s not the first time this year the Browns have been linked to talk of a transfer of title.
Last month, after Joe Banner resigned as president of the Eagles and declared an intent to get involved in an ownership group elsewhere, Howard Eskin of NBC 10 in Philly said that Banner could try to buy the Browns, Bills, or Rams.
“The Browns are not for sale,” spokesman Neal Gulkis said on June 7. (Of course, that technically would be true, if the Browns already are/were in the process of being sold.)
We’ve sent Neal an email requesting a fresh statement in the wake of the ESPN 850 report/rumor.
The franchise has been owned by Randy Lerner since the passing of his father, Al. But the younger Lerner never has seemed to embrace the role. Thus, it won’t be a surprise if the team is sold, at some point.
Unless it already has been.
While it’s not easy to keep transactions like this under wraps until it’s official, it’s not unprecedented. Last year, the sale of the Jaguars to Shahid Khan came out of nowhere, and it quickly was a done deal.
And so it’s possible to keep these matters under wraps. Especially if everyone involved in the process is committed to denying that the team is for sale.
UPDATE 10:02 a.m. ET: Lerner has issued a statement on the subject. Yep, there’s something to it.