I bet that got your attention! No, the Browns fans will not have to endure the heart break of losing their team again. However, The Cleveland Browns have in fact been sold.
ESPN is reporting that The Cleveland Browns have been sold by Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam for in excess of $1 billion. League sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter this information today.
Jimmy Haslam is president and CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America with more than 550 retail locations. He is the older brother of Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Haslam, who also worked for the family business before he was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and again in 2007, then governor in 2010.
He also has described himself as a “1,000 percent” Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
The Browns have been owned by the Lerner family since 1999, when the franchise was reborn after the original club moved to Baltimore.
Randy Lerner, 50, who also owns the Aston Villa soccer club in England, inherited the Browns in 2002 following the death of his father, Al.
Some fans have been unhappy with Randy Lerner, long criticizing him as a disengaged owner of a club that has made the playoffs just once since it was recreated.
Information from ESPN.com news services was used in this report.