CLEVELAND — Browns owner Randy Lerner has begun talks with truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam on giving up controlling interest while committing to keep the team in Cleveland, the club president said Friday. And get this: Haslam is a self-described “1,000 percent” Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
“(Lerner) is giving up controlling interest in the team,” president Mike Holmgren said at the team’s suburban Berea training camp. Holmgren said he and Lerner have discussed the matter throughout the summer. Holmgren said the talks on the future of the team included the agreed stipulation that the Browns would remain in Cleveland.
“The Cleveland Browns are not going anywhere,” Holmgren said. Holmgren said that Lerner’s interests have changed during the years and that the owner had told him a while back that while he loved the team, he would consider selling if and when a reliable buyer came along. “All the stars aligned on this one,” Holmgren said. Lerner disclosed the talks in a statement earlier Friday. “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,” Lerner said in a statement.