See which NFL team was sold for 1 billion

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See which NFL team was sold for 1 billion

From Comcast SportsNet
BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- The new owner of the Cleveland Browns is watching his first practice. Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam III walked to the middle of the field Friday with team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert for his first glimpse at what 1 billion can buy. Haslam was wearing shorts on a hot, humid morning. Randy Lerner reached a deal Thursday to sell the club to Haslam, a minority stockholder in the rival Steelers. Haslam must divest his interest in the Steelers and also gain approval for the purchase from the NFL. Haslam, who planned to hold a news conference later Friday, promised Lerner the franchise won't be relocated. Haslam arrived in Cleveland late Thursday and dined with Holmgren. "He had done a lot of work on the Browns and the city of Cleveland," Lerner said Thursday, "and first and foremost gave me his personal assurance the team would remain in Cleveland." Lerner will sell 70 percent of the Browns to Haslam now, with the other 30 percent reverting to him four years after the closing date, a person with knowledge of the sale told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details have not officially been announced. "This is a very exciting time for my family and me," Haslam said through the team. "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." While the papers have been signed, the NFL still must sign off on the deal. Getting the nod from 24 of the 32 teams is required, and no date has been set for a vote because the sale has not been presented to the league yet. The person with knowledge of the sale said approval is expected by the end of September. ESPN reported the sale price was more than 1 billion. For comparison, the Miami Dolphins sold at a value of more than 1 billion in 2009. The Browns were valued at 977 million last year by Forbes magazine, 20th in the NFL. Asked if he was surprised by the deal, Holmgren said: "On one hand, the surprising part was the time of the year. But in this business, I gave up being surprised a long time ago." Lerner, whose family has owned the franchise since it returned to the NFL in 1999, first announced he was in negotiations to sell the club last week. The late Al Lerner, Randy's father, purchased the franchise from the NFL in 1998 for 530 million after the original Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens. The elder Lerner died in 2002. Randy Lerner also is the owner of Aston Villa, a club in the English Premier League. The expansion Browns entered the NFL in 1999 and have made the playoffs just once, a 2002 first-round loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They've had only two winning records in 13 seasons and are 68-140 since they returned. Even with a string of failures on the field, the value of the Browns -- like other NFL franchises -- keeps increasing, boosted by broadcast income. The league agreed in December to nine-year contracts with CBS, Fox and NBC that run through the 2022 season and will boost revenue from the 1.93 billion last season to 3.1 billion by 2022. The NFL reached an eight-year extension with ESPN last year through the 2021 season that increases the rights fee from 1.1 billion to 1.9 billion annually. Haslam has been a minority investor in the Steelers since 2008, and is the president and CEO of Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America. He is the older brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. According to a 2010 profile on Steelers.com, Haslam has been a Dallas Cowboys fan and then an Indianapolis Colts fan. But with the Pittsburgh investment, Haslam said he had become "1,000 percent a Steelers fan." The Haslam brothers are supporters of the University of Tennessee, where their father Jim Haslam played tackle on the 1951 national championship football team under Gen. Robert R. Neyland, who built the Volunteers into a football powerhouse. The elder Haslam founded the Pilot Corp. in 1958 with a single gas station in Gate City, Va. He credits sons Bill and Jimmy with expanding the chain from mostly gas stations and convenience stores to a "travel center" concept of truck stops featuring branded fast food service. As for Haslam possibly moving the franchise, Holmgren emphatically added, "The Cleveland Browns aren't going anywhere." But the current staff might be if the Browns don't do better than the 4-12 record of 2011, Pat Shurmur's first season as coach. New owners usually bring in their own management team, although Shurmur has impressed many people around the league. "I have no fear about any of that because I trust my coaches, I trust the players and I've watched the work they've done based on the conversation of this last week," Shurmur said Thursday. "I think we're moving full steam ahead. That doesn't bother me one bit at this point at this point. My concern is getting this team ready to play and our players understand that message and they are doing a good job." Holmgren would not address his future with the Browns. "Honestly, my focus is to have guys here concentrating on football, making it business as usual," he said. "The what ifs and hypotheticals, I have to stay away from." Haslam would be the sixth majority owner of the Browns: team founder Mickey McBride (1945-1953), David Jones (1953-1961), Art Modell (1961-1995), Al Lerner (1998-2002), and Randy Lerner (2002-present). An NFL trust also oversaw the inactive franchise from 1996-1998. Cleveland last won the NFL championship in 1964, beating Johnny Unitas and the then-Baltimore Colts 27-0. The Browns have never been to the Super Bowl.

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Gausman allows three first-inning home runs in 6-5 loss

Gausman allows three first-inning home runs in 6-5 loss

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5

Winner-Estrada (6-4)
Loser-Gausman (2-8)
Save-Osuna (21)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Orioles scored five runs, equaling their most since the All-Star break. They haven’t scored six or more since July 6.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Kevin Gausman allowed three home runs in the first inning to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki. 

The Orioles (58-44) lost for the fourth straight time and have just a half-game lead over Toronto (58-45). 

HUSTLE RUN: Manny Machado scored all the way from first base on an infield out by Chris Davis in the third. Machado, who had taken second, decided to sprint for third, which wasn’t covered. He beat the throw, and Toronto catcher Russell Martin, who was near third, made an error, allowing Machado to score.

NOT KING OF THE ROAD: Not only is Gausman nearing the second anniversary of his last road win, but he had travel issues getting to Toronto. 

Gausman was left back in Baltimore on Wednesday night when the Orioles flew to Minnesota for a one-game makeup. His Thursday flight to Toronto was cancelled, so he flew to Detroit and drove from there. 

UNHAPPY WIETERS: Matt Wieters growled at home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez when he objected to a called strike in the eighth inning. Buck Showalter ran out to intercede. 

Wieters has been ejected twice in his major league career. Both have come in games against Toronto. 

VANIMAL HELPS: Vance Worley allowed just one hit in four scoreless innings following Gausman. 

BUNTING FOR KIM: Hyun Soo Kim bunted for a base hit in the first inning. 

UP NEXT: Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.37) faces J.A. Happ (13-3, 3.27) on Saturday at 1:07 p.m. 

The Orioles must win to maintain their AL East lead. 

RELATED: J.J. HARDY HAS BEEN SCORCHING THIS MONTH

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The Warriors are giving JaVale McGee a shot to make their roster in training camp

The Warriors are giving JaVale McGee a shot to make their roster in training camp

The Warriors have signed a lanky forward in his late-20's who's capable of doing things that were previously thought to be impossible on a basketball court.

No, not Kevin Durant. That dude is old news. According to a report from ESPN's Marc Stein, it's JaVale McGee time in Oakland. 

Well, sort of.

Stein says that Golden State has signed McGee to a "make-good deal," meaning he'll be auditioning for a spot on their regular season roster during the team's training camp.

The eventual back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back NBA champions do have a need at center, though, after trading Andrew Bogut and letting Festus Ezeli walk. Therefore, it appears that the former Wizard (and Nugget and 76er and Maverick) does have a decent chance at sticking with the Warriors.

In 34 games with Dallas in 2015/16, McGee averaged 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and .8 blocks a night. Zaza Pachulia, Anderson Varejao and David West are other big men currently under contract with the team.

RELATED: AARON WHITE BYPASSES WIZARDS CAMP

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When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

What do Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis have in common? They're all excellent NFL corners — and they all rank behind Josh Norman when it comes to ratings in Madden 17.

The Bronco (93 overall), the Seahawk (92), the Cardinal (91) and the Jet (91) should be proud of the grades handed to them for the next edition of the legendary video game. It's Norman, though, who's at the top of these top-notch defenders, checking in with a skillset that's good enough for a 94 in the eyes of EA Sports.

"Norman is expected to be a lock down corner for the Redskins this season," reads the description underneath Norman's name in a post ranking the elite cornerbacks that was published Thursday. "He is best in zone with his 97 zone coverage rating, but has the ability to match up in man to man situations with 90 speed and 92 man coverage."

These numbers are subject to change during the course of the season, so if No. 24 has a rough outing or two, he could tumble down a few points and give up the crown to someone else. As it stands now, however, Madden thinks he's the preeminent man at his position. 

And that's something Odell Beckham Jr. can't say.

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