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Browns Sale Could Be Finalized By Start Of Regular Season; Joe Banner Involved In Buyer's Group

The Cleveland Browns are likely about to be under new ownership. It was reported on Friday that owner Randy Lerner was in talks with Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam to get a deal done at right around $920 million for the NFL franchise. Deals like this can take an awful lot of time though, but Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer is reporting that a deal could come much sooner than that.

Cabot says, citing a league source, that the deal could be completed by the start of the regular season in September:

The deal is close enough that a committee of owners could meet to approve it sometime in August or early September, the source said. Browns President Mike Holmgren said the next full owners' meeting is in October, and no special session has been called yet.

That's relatively quick as far as these things go, but there have been rumors about the Browns being up for sale in the past, including early on in June. It's possible that this has been going on for some time now. The Jacksonville Jaguars also had a very quick sale recently - with Shahid Khan taking over the team from Wayne Weaver in just a matter of weeks.

Also of particular note in the piece is the fact that former Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner is part of the group that is purchasing the team. He'll be part-owner of the team and could be interested in the same role he had with the Eagles, Cabot reports. In that case, Mike Holmgren would be out of a job with a couple years remaining on his contract.

The piece does bring up the possibility that Holmgren has a clause in his contract that says he is paid his entire salary for the remaining years in the event that the team is sold and he is ousted as team president. That's not confirmed but it does seem awfully likely at this point. As it stands, there is no tangible information about the future of Holmgren with the Browns, especially given that the deal hasn't gone through yet.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.