- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Cleveland Browns addressed rumors of being sold by issuing this statement from owner Randy Lerner:
"In connection with current rumors and press inquiries, I can report that I’ve been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns. We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private. Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season. We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary.”
Haslam has been a minority owner of the Browns' rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, since 2008. On the Steelers' website, where you can see a picture of Haslam, he talks about how he was originally a Cowboys fan and then became a Colts one. That has now changed. "I am 1,000 percent a Steelers fan!," Haslam said.
Rumors that the Browns were for sale began last month, when a Philadelphia radio station reported former Eagles President Joe Banner was interested in putting together a group to buy a team. A Browns spokesman shot down the speculation at that time.
The Browns have been owned by the Lerner Family since 1999. Randy Lerner inherited the team in 2002 when his father, Al Lerner, died.