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Sources: Haslam, Banner talks substantial with Browns

The SportsXchange

The Friday morning report by multiple Cleveland-area media outlets that the Browns are negotiating to sell at least part of the team -- subsequently confirmed by franchise officials -- was somewhat surprising. But it probably shouldn't be.

Owner Randy Lerner, who inherited the club when father Al Lerner died in 2002, has been a guy who was well intentioned, but never quite able to deliver, and unable to lift the team to its previous status.

Basically, the younger Lerner, who was thrust into the stewardship role prematurely, has not been completely comfortable as the owner.

And despite his genuine passion for the franchise, he has been more of a fan than a facilitator, a guy whose heart was generally in the right place, but who was usually ineffective.

It remains to be seen how much of an "investment" potential owner/partners Jimmy Haslam and former Eagles' president Joe Banner make in the Browns, but the early indications from league sources on Friday morning were that it could be substantial.

It will also be worth noting what effect Haslam/Banner could have on the role of team president Mike Holmgren. It's been rumored for several years now that Holmgren might not be around a lot longer.

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