New Browns owner has no plans to move team

Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:21 PM
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CLEVELAND, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The new owner of the Cleveland Browns said Thursday he is committed to keeping the team in the city and creating a new golden era for the venerable NFL team.

Jimmy Haslam closed a deal said to be in excess of $1 billion for controlling interest in the Brown, which still must be approved by the NFL owners, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer said.

Haslam, who makes money as chief executive officer of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, has been a part owner of the Browns' rival Pittsburgh Steelers since 2008.

He said in a written statement he was bleeding brown from now on.

"To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true," Haslam said. "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."

Haslam, 58, and his investment group will hold 70-percent of the Browns. Current owner Randy Lerner will hang on to the remaining 30 percent.

Lerner took over the team in 2002 after the death of his father, Al Lerner. Al Lerner obtained the franchise four years earlier to bring the NFL back to Cleveland after the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.

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