Cleveland will get to meet prospective Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on Friday afternoon.
Team president Mike Holmgren confirmed that Haslam reached agreement to purchase a controlling interest in the team from Randy Lerner for a price reportedly north of $1 billion. Holmgren, who said that he’d like to remain with the team, also said that there would be a press conference introducing Haslam at 1 p.m. on Friday.
One of the questions in that press conference will likely have to do with the team’s plans to stay in Cleveland. Haslam touched on the subject on a statement released on Thursday.
“We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL — something all Browns fans want and deserve. We plan to bring relentless dedication and hard work to every aspect of this organization, and we look forward to getting to know this team and community as quickly as possible.”
Lerner also released a statement on Thursday confirming the sale and saying thanks to the Browns organization. He also thanked Browns fans, a group that hasn’t always been enamored of Lerner’s decision making.
“I feel a deep debt of gratitude to the loyal and passionate fan base, as well as the people I’ve met and worked with over the years. It has been a privilege to be involved with the Cleveland Browns and my only hope is that the Haslam family has the best of luck and that the Browns are restored to their rightful place among NFL Champions.”
Haslam still needs to be approved by the rest of the league’s owners, something that’s believed to be a formality because he already owned a stake in the Steelers. That would likely happen in October unless the league calls a special meeting to do it sooner. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that there were no plans to do that at present.