Lerner keeps franchise in the family

Unlike some late owners who didn't pass their franchises on to their heirs, Cleveland's Al Lerner groomed his son Randy to take over the franchise following his death.

Updated: October 27, 2002, 6:40 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Time was when an endearing quality of the NFL was the perception that franchises were operated like the neighborhood mom-and-pop grocery store down on the corner.

And then, alas, two things occurred: The league went from being sport to being big business, with the personal element of the game evaporating into a mind-numbing collage of television contracts and free agency and licensing fees. Second, some of the patriarchal owners died off, leaving their families to deal with the suffocating ...

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