When the owners convene in Chicago on Monday, the top item on the agenda will relate to the proposed purchase of the Browns by Jimmy Haslam.
But Haslam already has, as we’ve previously been told, a double-digit piece of the Steelers. And while it’s believed that a large amount of that equity will be sold at or about the time the purchase of the Browns officially closes, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Haslam possibly will continue to hold a small slice of the Steelers while actively running the Browns.
If it happens, it won’t last for long, and it won’t be evidence of any dual agenda by Haslam. Instead, it’s a reality of major business transactions that consume lots of time and even more trees to get fully resolved. Given the speed with which Haslam’s purchase of the Browns transpired, it’s not surprising that Haslam has yet to dot all i’s and cross all t’s when it comes to unloading his piece of the Steelers.
The league has no reason to erect unreasonably barriers to such practical realities of ownership transactions, especially when a minority owner of one team decides to become a majority owner of another. Though the fans may feel differently, it’s an unavoidable aspect of what Haslam is hoping to ultimate accomplish — owning the Browns and ending his partial ownership of the Steelers.
UPDATE 11:28 a.m. ET: Per Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Haslam owned 12.5 percent of the Steelers. That’s a significant chunk, given that chairman Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney, II own 15 percent each. It also means that, unless someone plans to buy all 12.5 percent from Haslam, it will require multiple transactions and a greater chance that Haslam will have ownership interest in both teams, at least for a little while.