Possible Browns owner Haslam has been a minority owner of the Steelers since 2008

Getty Images

In the luxury-suite equivalent of a player leaving one team and signing with a division rival, Jimmy Haslam is in the process of flip-flopping from the Steelers to the Browns.

Haslam became a minority owner of the Steelers in 2008, as part of a protracted, gambling-driven Rooney family restructuring that left Dan and Art II owning 30 percent of the franchise and others owning the rest.

In December 2008, Haslam, the Paul family, and film executive Thomas Tull (who was responsible for The Dark Knight Rises being partially filmed in Pittsburgh and at Heinz Field) were approved to purchase part of the 50 percent that was sold as part of the buyout of various Rooney siblings.

Several months later, others joined the ownership group, including John Stallworth.

The Steelers have not yet addressed whether and to what extent Haslam is in the process of selling his minority interest in the Steelers.  If he buys the Browns, he’ll undoubtedly have to give up his interest in the Steelers.

In a 2010 investor profile on the Steelers website, Haslam says he was originally a Cowboys fan and later a Colts fan. But business developments caused him to have a change of heart.

I am 1,000 percent a Steelers fan!” Haslam declared.

That’s exactly what Browns fans are going to want to hear.

UPDATE 10:31 a.m. ET:  Per a league source, the Steelers privately are acknowledging that Haslam is in negotiations with the Browns.  Haslam remains for now a minority owner of the Steelers.

Coincidentally, 25 percent of the Browns’ 2012 schedule will be played against Haslam’s current and former favorite teams.

20 responses to “Possible Browns owner Haslam has been a minority owner of the Steelers since 2008

  1. Once a Steelers fan, always a Steelers fan! This is going to be interesting. On the other hand, another long time Steelers fan, Bill Cowher, was able to play and coach in Cleveland, while remaining a Steelers fan.

  2. I was a young boy when the Browns last won it all. I fondly remember Leroy Kelly and Greg Pruitt, Brian Sipe and the Kardiac Kids. Bernie Kosar is still my hero and Clay Matthews, Sr. melted my wife’s heart. Please Mr. Lerner, sell this team so we long-suffering Browns fans can finally put the memories of Benedict Arnold Modell to rest forever.

  3. It’s a business investment. Of course the CEO of Pepsi is going to say he prefers Pepsi over Coke.

    Anyone who thinks something as trivial as supporting an NFL team is going to affect how well these guys run their business is delusional.

  4. this hurts me on so many levels..

    1) a steeler OWNING the browns.
    2) we finally get the pieces in place (holmgren/heckert) to be successful and compete long term.. only to get a new owner in here and blow the whole thing up..

    a always thought Randy Lerner was an idiot.. but him selling the team now could hurt this franchise for years to come.

    sad day in browns town.

  5. He is not a Steeler. He wants to own an NFL team. Other Browns fans are so reactionary. All the fans calling for Randy to sell the team for years and years get your wish and then they COMPLAIN? If you owned anything, and people asked you if you were a fan, you would say “YES”
    Sad day? You other fans that thinks this is sad, are reactionary. Selling anytime could hurt the organization…..

  6. Jimmy Haslam is a University of Tennessee alumni, and his brother, Bill Haslam, is Governor of Tennessee. I guess Tennessee already has a team, the Titans, so is a move to LA possible? Maybe not, I don’t think Browns fans could take another team moving out of town.

  7. as a lifelong die hard Browns fan since 68 i have mixed emotions on this . Lerners father helped broker the deal and it was on his jet that the dirty deal was done in 95 to move my beloved Browns to Baltimore . i have never trusted the Lerner family . how can i after that ? when the old man died ” Jammie’s ” Lerner took over . he was the definition of a fool & his money or his fathers money paying more for people to leave that he fired than trying to build this franchise back to being respectable . we are on the right track ..i will have to see how this plays out .

    forever Burnt orange & Seal Brown ..i am 55 and have yet to see a championship . i was to young to really care about the 64 one .

  8. This guy is a bandwagon “fan”, so don’t feel bad Browns fans. Your team won’t be owned by a “Steeler fan.” He’s a fan of his $ and himself, which works for him, obviously.

  9. Just remember before you have some kind of attack over a part-owner of the Steelers buying into the Browns that if it weren’t for the Browns, the Steelers may not have any success. Both Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher played in Cleveland. At one point in the late 70’s, every head coach in the NFL either played for or coached under Paul Brown in Cleveland. Which, all told, makes the Belichick tree seem kind of lame by comparison.

  10. Fine with me. For one- and it’s already been stated here- it’s pretty obvious that the guy is a businessman who will now become a Browns fan, 1000%. Second, if he assumes controlling ownership of the Browns, I’m sure he’d like nothing better than to prove to the last team he worked for that he can build something that will be better than that last team. Third, maybe the Browns will finally have an owner that knows how to utilize personnel and talent to build that winner instead of ignoring and not caring about doing whatever it takes to build a winner.

    …And it will be great to have someone come in who can bring all the Steelers’ winning “secrets”. Ha ha… Wouldn’t it be awesome if this guy turned the Browns into a perennial playoff team, using his knowledge of the Steelers organization? Steelers fans’ heads must be spinning in rage right now. Hilarious.

  11. This is, in my opinion, a win-win scenareo for both Learner and the fans.

    Learner earns almost $400mil after selling the team and the stadium. This is money that he can invest in his crappy soccer team.

    The fans will be given a new ownership group that, if they truly want to win, will come in and be agressive. Unlike when Paul Dolan bought the Indians or when Dan Gilbert bought the Cavs, when the values were at the absolute highest, these guys can buy in on the ground level and build value. Logic dictates that they’re not going to buy a team that needs turn-around, then go cheap on them.

  12. Why would it hurt to have a “Steeler” owning the Browns (even though this is far from the case)? It would not hurt to have 40 years of great football rub off a little bit on the Browns.

  13. clefan is right. haslam used to be a cowboys fan and then a colts fan and now a steelers fan?

    at least most people who like a team stick with them through it all.

  14. trickbunny….don’t be so naive. This guy knows nothing about any “secrets” of the Steelers. The closest he gets to the Steelers are the dividend checks he cashes being a minority owner.

  15. He was a Cowboys fan, then a Colts fan, then a Steelers fan, and I’m sure he’ll now be a Browns fan. Kind of a journeyman, huh?

    I don’t really get that kind of “fan,” but just hope the Browns get the kind of committed ownership their storied franchise deserves. Wonder who will pick up his shares of the Steelers.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.