According to sources, the Cleveland Browns are close to being sold to a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslem is said to be close to buying the team from Randy Lerner. The Steelers have confirmed the discussions but did not comment any further.
One of the contingents of the sale is that the team has to have "a complete and unconditional personal assurance that the team can never be moved from the city of Cleveland."
Other details about the potential deal were not yet known.
Browns owner Randy Lerner issue a statement that read:
"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.
"Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season.
"We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary."
The Lerners have owned the Browns since the team came back into the league in 1999. Randy Lerner took over the team when family patriarch, Ed, died in 2002.
Jimmy Haslem owns and operates Pilot Travel Centers out of Knoxville, Tennessee and has been a minority owner of the Steelers since 2008.
Pilot Travel Centers are the largest operator of truck stops and travel centers in the US.