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NFL roundup: Browns sale to Haslam complete, pending approval

The SportsXchange

The sale of the Cleveland Browns from Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam was announced Thursday with a price tag in excess of $1 billion, including an initial payment of $700 million due this week.

The sale must be approved by NFL owners and a special session could be called in August if the league doesn't want to wait until a scheduled meeting in October.

"This is a very exciting time for my family and me," said Haslam. "To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL - something all Browns fans want and deserve.

"We plan to bring relentless dedication and hard work to every aspect of this organization, and we look forward to getting to know this team and community as quickly as possible. Our family is committed to becoming an integral part of the Cleveland community. We also want to thank Randy Lerner for his friendship, counsel and support during this process."

Former Eagles president Joe Banner is part of Haslam's football management team, which casts doubt on the future of current Browns executives, including team president Andy Reid and general manager Tom Heckert. Banner resigned as Eagles president, where he worked under childhood friend Jeffrey Lurie.

The transaction includes a second payment of more than $300 million.

Haslam III visits the Browns' facility in Berea, Ohio,Friday for his introductory press conference.

---Commissioner Roger Goodell was at Lions' training camp Thursday and met with running back Mikel Leshoure and defensive tackle Nick Fairley, each of whom had multiple offseason arrests.

Goodell said Fairley, charged in DUI and marijuana possession cases in Alabama, remains subject to discipline under the NFL's off-field conduct policy. Leshoure was suspended for the first two regular-season games by Goodell on June 13. Leshoure was arrested twice for marijuana possession in Michigan and pleaded guilty in May to possession stemming from a March 12 incident

--Wide receiver Chaz Schilens was rubbed the wrong way by cornerback Antonio Cromartie's remark that he was the second best receiver on the roster.

Cromartie, moonlighting at the position, said in an ESPN TV interview that only Santonio Holmes is ahead of him.

Schilens and rookie Stephen Hill are competing with likely slot receiver Jeremy Kerley for the No. 2 job in training camp behind Holmes. He confesses now to being agitated when he commented on Cromartie's statement.

"We'll address it on the football field. kind of thought it was a joke, but I guess he said it and that's how he feels, so it's my job to I guess fix that situation, so we'll see what goes on in practice. He's entitled to think whatever he wants," he said Wednesday.

The two players and coach Rex Ryan met and settled what they said has become a "non-issue."

Ryan gave players a tongue-lashing and recommended they keep quiet. Cromartie refused to talk to media, offering only a "no comment" for the second straight day Thursday.

--One by one, the Eagles' starting defensive line has been picked off by injuries, and all four of them watched Thursday's practice, including defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who injured his hamstring Wednesday.

Jenkins said the injury is mild and the "tweak" would likely only sideline him for a few practices.

Rookie Fletcher Cox, the Eagles' first round pick, is standing out on the field with Jenkins and defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole nursing injuries. He could be moving ahead of Mike Patterson, who isn't practicing while on the non-football injury list.

--Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the second pick behind Luck, has taken some criticism for not sensing pressure and taking sacks by holding the ball too long. While left tackle Trent Williams is shutting out Washington's outside linebackers, Griffin is feeling consistent pressure from the right and middle of the line.

"There are some growing pains that are natural at the position, but he's doing a heck of a job," coach Mike Shanahan said. "He has come in and, like I said, we had the offseason and a lot of time to meet, and he has picked things up very quickly."

--The Panthers terminated the contract of right tackle Jeff Otah, who was a first-round pick by the Panthers in 2008 but had his career derailed by injuries.

Otah was traded to the Jets last week, but was unable to pass his physical in seven days and reverted to Carolina's roster on Tuesday.

--The NFL will not get directly involved into the medical decision the Lions and independent doctors must make regarding running back Jahvid Best.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said "medical people will make that decision."

Best isn't yet cleared for contact and hasn't participated even in partial contact football drills since suffering his second concussion of the 2011 season last October.

Coach Jim Schwartz said Best isn't day-to-day and the timetable for his return is likely to be measured in "weeks, not days."

---Defensive end Kentwan Balmer has missed the past two days of Redskins training camp, and coach Mike Shanahan said the team doesn't know where he is.

"Hopefully it's nothing very serious, Shanahan said after Wednesday's practice.

Balmer reported to training camp last week, but hasn't been seen for the past two days.

--The Saints are without starting cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson, but coach Joe Vitt believes both will be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 9 against the Redskins.

Greer underwent sports hernia surgery and Vitt said Thursday that he anticipates Greer returning to practice the week before the Saints-Texans preseason game on August 25.

Robinson hasn't been practicing, only riding a stationary bike, since injuring his shoulder Sunday.

--The Patriots signed Derek Dennis, a 6-3, 315-pound offensive guard from Temple who might be able to play right tackle.

Dennis is versatile and powerful. He started at every position except center for the Owls and has NFL lineage. Dennis is expected to join the team Saturday or Sunday.

---Usually, quarterbacks are off limits to taking hits from the defense during NFL practices, but when the Jets unveiled their goal-line offense on Thursday with Tim Tebow taking the snaps, coach Rex Ryan took the unusual step of telling the defense that the drill was live, meaning they could tackle Tebow.

Operating with the second-team offense, Tebow scored untouched on the first play in the drill. On the second play, he hit Josh Baker with a touchdown pass. On the fourth play, Tebow took a snap from the Wildcat formation and ran for another touchdown. He produced three touchdowns in four plays from the 2-yard line.

In this, the Jets sixth practice, the team provided a glimpse of how they might use Tebow. Ryan called it Tebow's "best day of camp."

---Former NFL running back Jamal Lewis was placed in jail briefly earlier this week for failing to pay child support, but on Thursday he reportedly said the arrest was the result of a misunderstanding.

Lewis, who was charged with child abandonment in Clayton County, Ga., according to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, released a statement to the Carroll County Times tha read, in part: "My arrest on Wednesday evening was the result of a misunderstanding rather than the result of me being an unfit father. I am a responsible parent and have always provided for my children. That fact cannot be disputed. "

---The Patriots signed Derek Dennis, a 6-3, 315-pound offensive guard from Temple who might be able to play right tackle.

Dennis is versatile and powerful. He started at every position except center for the Owls and has NFL lineage. He is a cousin of former Temple and Washington Redskins offensive tackle Tre' Johnson and Cowboys linebacker Dexter Coakley.

Dennis is expected to join the team Saturday or Sunday.

---Running back Zach Brown signed with the Bills, who waived/injured running back Chris Douglas.

Brown, an undrafted rookie out of Pittsburgh who rushed for 357 yards last season, participated in the team's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis in May.

---Chargers running back Ryan Mathews looked strong to coach Norv Turner in Wednesday night's practice, just two days after avoiding serious injury in a car accident.

"He looked fast to me," Turner said. "He looked real fast. He's a really explosive player. Just missing a couple days and then coming back out here, you just feel his presence."

Mathews suffered minor injuries in a two-car accident in San Diego on Monday night.

---Defensive end J.J. Watt left the Texans' practice on Thursday with an elbow injury.

Watt got his arm caught up at the end of a running play and was taken to the training room by a cart, according to the Houston Chronicle. Coach Gary Kubiak did not have an update on Watt's status immediately after practice.

---"Hard Knocks," HBO's annual training camp documentary series featuring the Dolphins this year, will debut Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 10 p.m. EDT. The finale is set to air Sept. 4.

This is the seventh season for the series, which struggled to find a featured team until the Dolphins agreed to do it in late May. Several teams passed on the series, including the Jets, Broncos, Redskins, Colts, Falcons and Seahawks.
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