Randy Lerner, who assumed control of the Browns in October 2002 following the death of his father, Al, issued the following statement on his sale of the team to Jimmy Haslam:
“On behalf of my family and as trustee for the Lerner Family Trust, which holds the shares of the Cleveland Browns, I have agreed to sell the Browns to Jimmy Haslam and his family.
“I was approached regarding Mr. Haslam’s interest several weeks ago. While as a fiduciary I have always felt it was my responsibility to listen to offers, I had not been approached with a proposal that felt as natural and complete as Mr. Haslam’s. He had done a lot of work on the Browns and the City of Cleveland and first and foremost gave me his personal assurance the team would remain in Cleveland.
“As I was at first overwhelmed, I asked for a few days to consider the proposal during which time I consulted with my mother and sister. Over this short period we agreed that the proposal was strong, the buyers made sense and the time was right for us to move on.
“Going forward, we anticipate that the League will meet and vote on the deal and the closing is expected to follow shortly thereafter. During this time the organization will operate as it has in the past with all senior executives in place.
“While a statement like this is certainly part of the process, it couldn’t possibly capture my feelings towards the Browns and the many people whom I feel very strong about. Those feelings therefore will need to be expressed in person. Notwithstanding, I feel a deep debt of gratitude to the loyal and passionate fan base, as well as the people I’ve met and worked with over the years. It has been a privilege to be involved with the Cleveland Browns and my only hope is that the Haslam family has the best of luck and that the Browns are restored to their rightful place among NFL Champions.”