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Browns deal on “fast track”

PILOT FLYING J TRACE ADKINS

Although prospective Browns owner Jimmy Haslam hasn’t said anything in the 24 hours or so since word emerged of his effort to swap out a minority share in the Steelers for controlling interest in the Browns, he could be taking center stage in Cleveland, soon.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the sale from Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam is on the “fast track,” and that the deal could be approved in August.

(By “approved,” that likely means by a committee of owners, and not the full body.  A league source tells PFT that the next full meeting of owners is set for October.)

It’s not a surprise; the recent sale of the Jaguars from Wayne Weaver to Shahid Khan received similar grease-through-goose treatment, with the sale official not long after word emerged that a transaction was happening.

The Browns sale was brokered, we’re told, at the league-office level.  The fact that Haslam already owns a double-digit piece of the Steelers made the process a lot more smooth than if he had no prior NFL ties.  Indeed, if the owners already have approved Haslam to own a significant piece of the Steelers, why wouldn’t they approve him to own all or most of the Browns?

Officially, it’s unknown whether Lerner will return a minority share in the team, and whether other minority interests will be sold.  Under league rules, one person can control a team by owning as little as 30 percent of all equity.

But with Forbes.com recently pegging the value of the Browns at $977 million and with Haslam, according to Forbes.com, plunking down $920 million for the team, it appears that he plans to buy it all.

He could thereafter sell off slices to serious investors and the likes of Drew Carey, Trace Adkins (I had to mention him because he’s in the picture with Haslam) and Michael Stanley, as other owners have done.  (And, yes, I now know who Michael Stanley is.)

There’s speculation in league circles that, apart from Lerner’s apparent lack of interest in being an NFL owner, he decided to liquidate the Browns because he needed the cash to finance the operations of his English soccer club, Aston Villa.

That’s an example of what they call “rich people problems,” problems that anyone who isn’t rich would love to have.

Within the next month or so, Lerner’s biggest problem will be figuring out where to park $920 million.

That’s a shame.

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15 Responses to “Browns deal on “fast track””
  1. highvolt345 says: Jul 28, 2012 10:07 AM

    The only part that genuinely concerns me as a browns fan of 34 years.is that Joe banner the former president of the eagles.will come in here and replace Tom Heckert.word is their relationship was strained in Philadelphia,and that he was pushed out for banner’s choice howie roseman.Heckert has done a very good job of evaluating and infusing talent into the team.his right hand men of spytek and Sandusky have also done fine work in the pro personel and scouting departments.there’s rumors floating around that Heckert has already been let go.Heckert is a top talent evaluator and Gm in my opinion.I hope and think that banner leaves his ego at the door and is making a huge mistake if he releives Tom of his duties.if there’s any eagles fans that could possibly provide info on the previous working relationship of Joe Banner and Tom Heckert it would be appreciated.if Heckert is let go he will be snatched up immediately in my opinion he os the best thing to happen to this snakebit franchise.

  2. bigjdve says: Jul 28, 2012 10:10 AM

    I think that this would be good, sort of. Hopefully the Browns will have someone own them that cares about football and helps them try to start a winning tradition. The bad part about this is that they are getting someone who was a part owner of their division foe the Steelers.

    Conflict of Interests much?

    I wonder what this means, was Haslam just in it for the money or is/was he a Steelers fan? How does that work, him owning the Browns, how will the fans, you know the people that pay money to see them take that?

  3. brownsfn says: Jul 28, 2012 10:14 AM

    This really makes me sick to my stomache…he better at least keep Heckert in his position…if not we have 5 more years of “rebuilding” ahead of us…ugh….

  4. j0esixpack says: Jul 28, 2012 10:19 AM

    I suspect some Browns fans can’t help but think they’re having a nightmare in which the Steelers buy the team and move them to Pittsburgh.

    Hmmm… “the Pittsburgh Browns” does have a certain ring to it. Hey if their fan base can support two teams m ore power to them!

  5. vincentbojackson says: Jul 28, 2012 10:21 AM

    Introducing the Steelers’ new minor league affiliate!

  6. clownsfan says: Jul 28, 2012 10:27 AM

    I put the champagne on ice yesterday when the story broke. Finally. An owner who truly likes AMERICAN football. Who knows how to own/run a NFL franchise. Not just throw money at it & hopes for the best. First order of business: take Papa Al’s initials off the Browns jerseys. Thanks for everything Randy. And NOTHING.

    GO BROWNS!

  7. frankfordyellowjackets says: Jul 28, 2012 10:30 AM

    Lack of interest in being an NFL owner and deciding to focus interests elsewhere is not an example of a “rich persons problem” – it’s a lack of interest in being an NFL owner and a good thing for Brown’s fans.

  8. tombrookshire says: Jul 28, 2012 10:32 AM

    Talk to Mitt Romney, he’ll hook him up with a nice Cayman Islands account. Tax free, baby!

  9. knowerofallthings says: Jul 28, 2012 10:40 AM

    Why end the story with “Thats a shame”. ?

    It’s a shame the way they’ve been run under Lerner, maybe this will give them an owner who will invest in building a competetive franchise. Browns fans deserve the same feelings other fans have every summer, the optimism that this could be the year…

  10. joemammy says: Jul 28, 2012 12:20 PM

    Can’t wait to read whatever Tony Grossi has to say about the new billionaire owner.

  11. Mike Florio says: Jul 28, 2012 12:29 PM

    Well, we know he can’t be the world’s most irrelevant billionaire.

  12. billy0007 says: Jul 28, 2012 12:56 PM

    Good times ahead in Cleveland for football… Thank GOD & Good Riddance Randy Lerner!

  13. jscruisen says: Jul 28, 2012 1:44 PM

    OK people. If you’re upset that Heckert might go by the way side, why? He has an average grade when it comes to drafting top talent. How many pro-bowlers has he drafted? How many elite players has he acquired. I’m not an anti Heckert person, but I don’t see where all these accolades are warranted. If I spent almost $1 Billion for one of the worst teams in all of sports, not just football, I know I would make changes, and instill my own people in pivotal positions. Lets get excited in the fact we’ll have an owner that actually wants to be involved in the NFL, and not worry about where the chips may fall for any of this mediocre staff!

  14. backindasaddle says: Jul 28, 2012 2:25 PM

    Maybe the sale is receiving “fast track” and “grease-through-goose-treatment” from the league is because they haven’t been particularly enthralled with the ownership of Randy Lerner.

  15. irishjackmp says: Jul 28, 2012 7:27 PM

    highvolt345 says:
    Jul 28, 2012 10:07 AM
    The only part that genuinely concerns me as a browns fan of 34 years.is that Joe banner the former president of the eagles.will come in here and replace Tom Heckert.word is their relationship was strained in Philadelphia,and that he was pushed out for banner’s choice howie roseman.Heckert has done a very good job of evaluating and infusing talent into the team.his right hand men of spytek and Sandusky have also done fine work in the pro personel and scouting departments.there’s rumors floating around that Heckert has already been let go.Heckert is a top talent evaluator and Gm in my opinion.I hope and think that banner leaves his ego at the door and is making a huge mistake if he releives Tom of his duties.if there’s any eagles fans that could possibly provide info on the previous working relationship of Joe Banner and Tom Heckert it would be appreciated.if Heckert is let go he will be snatched up immediately in my opinion he os the best thing to happen to this snakebit franchise.

    __________________________________

    Eagles fan here. You summary as to what happened in Philly is dead on. Banner wanted Heckert out and Roseman in. Details as to why never really came out and since Heckert’s drafts were above average I assume it was a personality clash.

    As for Joe Banner it’s a good news/bad news thing. The bad news is he has the personality of a wet dishrag and often acts like he’s the smartest guy in the room. The good news is that he usually is the smartest guy in the room. He was a highly competent team President and probably managed the cap better than any team int he league. I honestly can’t think of a single player they lost via free agency that they really wanted to keep for cap reasons his entire time here. He didn’t let fan presure (i.e. signing fading popular veterans to extensions) get in the way of doing what they thought was best.

    If he can’t get past whatever (perceived) personality conflicts he had with Heckert and keep him around I think you will like him as team President. Good luck to you guys as you have suffered long enough.

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