We’re all dying for the regular season to get underway in order to see what this Philadelphia Eagles team is made of. As it turns out, Week 1 for the Birds may prove to be even more interesting than initially anticipated.
Philadelphia plays the Browns in Cleveland for its season opener, and the game may feature Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie going up against his good friend and former Eagles president Joe Banner.
How so? Per a report by Howard Eskin, Banner is part of a group led by Steelers minority owner Jimmy Haslam that wants to buy the Browns. By his own admission Eskin says that there is “a long way to go” on the deal.
The Browns issued a statement confirming reports of Haslam’s interest in acquiring the team. That statement, in part, says:
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.
Cleveland is currently owned by Randy Lerner, who inherited the team from his grandfather Al after his passing in 2002. The Browns have been owned by a member of that family since 1999.
With only six weeks to go until the start of the regular season, it’s very possible that a deal will not be in place before the September 9 game. But if the deal does through, it is anticipated that Banner would replace current Browns team president Mike Holmgren and step into a heavily financial role with the team, including managing the salary cap, which Banner did so well for the Eagles
When leaving Philadelphia, Banner made it clear that he wanted a new challenge and had grown tired of the day-to-day administrative tasks involved with presiding over the Eagles. Banner isn’t interested in owning a team for the sake of just having it. He’s wants to have another opportunity to take a team under his reigns and be part of a significant turnaround for the organization, as he and Lurie managed to do with the Eagles.
If everything does through in time for the start of the regular season, having Banner face off with his former team in his new organization’s very first game would be quite a storyline. It would to add to the overall excitement and intrigue surrounding the Eagles as they head into the regular season following a disappointing 2011.