Jimmy Haslam says he's committed to making Browns among NFL's 'elite'
KNOXVILLE, TN (News-Sentinel) -- The Cleveland Browns confirmed Thursday that owner Randy Lerner has agreed to sell a majority stake in the team to Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, and his family.
The sale is subject to a review by the NFL and a vote of the league's owners.
"This is a very exciting time for my family and me," Haslam said in a news release. "To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. 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. We plan to bring relentless dedication and hard work to every aspect of this organization, and we look forward to getting to know this team and community as quickly as possible. Our family is committed to becoming an integral part of the Cleveland community. We also want to thank Randy Lerner for his friendship, counsel and support during this process."
ESPN had previously reported the deal had been finalized. The network said Thursday that Haslam will take a controlling interest in the team for more than $700 million and later pay more than $300 million to complete the deal.
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Jimmy Haslam, center, president and CEO of Pilot Travel Centers, visits with managers Gary Jones, left, and Jim Kennedy in 2010 at the Flying J Travel Center in Knoxville. Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel