Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan has enlisted former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula as a member of a group of investors — including Bill Cosby — seeking to purchase the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise.
If the group succeeds in buying the expansion team, Shula would own 5% of the team and also would become executive VP of the Browns.
At a press conference Tuesday in Cleveland, Shula said he became interested in joining the Dolan group in its quest for the Browns because he, like the Dolan family, grew up in Cleveland and still has a fondness for the city and its residents.
Fathers and sons
In the group’s bid for the Browns, Charles Dolan and his brother Larry Dolan would each own 30% of the team and would hold an additional 30% in trusts for their two sons. Cosby and Shula would each own 5%.
Larry Dolan said that he and Charles have also had meetings with former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar about joining their group, but there was no specific proposal on the table.
The new Browns franchise is set to have its first season in 1999. The question of who will own the team is expected to be settled by September. The NFL has indicated it has about a half-dozen serious candidates to buy the Browns. The team is expected to cost between $300 million and $350 million.
The NFL forbids corporate ownership of its franchises. That’s why the Dolans are not making their bid through their Ca-blevision Systems cable and sports empire, which includes the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers.
Former Browns owner Art Model moved his Cleveland NFL franchise to Baltimore after the 1995 season, leaving Cleveland without a professional sports team.