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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The Capitals will be shorthanded again in Nashville on Saturday

The Capitals will be shorthanded again in Nashville on Saturday

The three Capitals who sat out Friday’s 2-1 win over the Oilers will also miss Saturday’s game against the Predators, Coach Barry Trotz said.

Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, both suffering from lower body injuries, and winger T.J. Oshie, who has an upper body ailment, did not travel accompany the team to Nashville.

The plan, according to Trotz, is for the three injured players to join the team on the second leg of the road trip. The Caps are scheduled to practice at the Devils’ home rink on Monday afternoon before heading to New York to face the Rangers on Tuesday.  

“We didn’t want to rush anything,” Trotz said. “We didn’t know on Brooks really until this afternoon.”

Trotz added: “We said, ‘Let’s not rush anything. We’re in a good spot. Let’s get everyone healthy.’”

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Niskanen suffered an apparent left leg injury Wednesday night in a collision with Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas. The first sign that something was bothering Orpik came Thursday when he missed practice.  Oshie, meanwhile, remains sore after absorbing a couple of big blows in Philadelphia.

All three players are officially listed as day-to-day.

Friday’s game against Connor McDavid and the surging Oilers marked the first bit of injury-related adversity the Caps have experienced this season.

It didn’t faze them.

A blue line that including seventh defenseman Taylor Chorney and minor league call-up Aaron Ness helped limit McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer, to a secondary assist and just one shot on goal in 21:42 of ice time.

Meanwhile, prospect Riley Barber made his NHL debut with Oshie sidelined. Barber recorded two shots on goal in 9:56 of ice time.

Washington's lineup will likely remain unchanged against P.K. Subban and the Predators, who have earned a point in three straight games (2-0-1). 

MORE CAPITALS: Wayne Gretzky loves how much Alex Ovechkin wants to win a Stanley Cup

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Wizards' defense fails to show up after All-Star break in loss to Sixers

Wizards' defense fails to show up after All-Star break in loss to Sixers

PHILADELPHIA -- For some strange reason, no matter if the Wizards are at full-strength and the 76ers are weakened, this has always been a trap game. Coming out of the All-Star break, it was the worst possible result for the team with the third-best record in the East that has games coming up against the Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors (twice) and Golden State Warriors. 

"They really have our number in here," said Bradley Beal, who had a game-high 40 points in a 120-112 loss at Wells Fargo Center. "We had some terrible energy, terrible focus. Kind of disrespected them a little bit and they kicked our butt. It's plain and simple. You got to credit them. We just didn't come out with focus and energy."

Beal and John Wall scored 69 points and the retooled bench with Bojan Bogdanovic, who has yet to have a full practice, only helped out with 11 as a group. Kelly Oubre and Bogdanovic shot 1-for-5. Trey Burke was 1-for-4. The most effective contributor because of his hustle, Jason Smith, didn't even score and took just one shot. 

The Wizards (34-22) lost here Nov. 16, 109-102. But then they had more plausible excuses. They were just 10 games into the season under a new coach in Scott Brooks and a new system. Wall was on a minutes restriction and Beal didn't play because of a thigh strain. 

But despite having all the reasons to come out of the All-Star break blazing, the Wizards flamed out. They couldn't get stops on the defensive end as they allowed Philadelphia (22-34) to make 43 of 87 shots, or 49.4%. The Wizards only made 5 of 24 three-pointers, 20.8%.

"We didn't shoot the ball but that's not the reason why we lost the game," said Wall after Washington shot 38 of 90, or 42.2%. "We didn't play defense worth a (expletive)."

Brooks wasn't pleased with the fight in his team. The Sixers had seven players in double figures, three getting double-doubles (Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Richaun Holmes).

"We gave up 69 points in the second and third quarters. Too many points," Brooks said. "When you score 112 points on the road, that should always be enough to win."

The Sixers have won two of three in the season series. 

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