by Ross Snow
Sources confirmed today that Cleveland Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam III, has written a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell requesting clarification on various team ownership rules, most notably a clarification on the league's return policy regarding the purchase of new teams.
The letter, initially thought to be a hoax, was over five pages in length and included multiple highlighted photocopies of receipts. After page 2, the letter seemed to take a more desperate tone, with the phrase "let's just pretend this never happened" appearing at the end of every paragraph from then on.
"It's disappointing," said rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was specifically referred to as "human garbage" and "money out the window" throughout the letter. "But at the same time, you just gotta go out there and do your job. You can't think about that stuff."
Haslam, the 57 year old businessman who previously owned a portion of the Pittsburgh Steelers, purchased the Browns for just over $1 billion this pre-season, a move that seemed like a solid investment at the time.
"When he bought the Browns for $1 billion, it sounded like a fair deal," said Guy Bradford, a sports financial analyst. "With the TV revenue sharing, their lucrative radio deals, and thriving jersey sales — thanks to the addition of Weeden and Richardson — things we're looking good. But things change quickly. I mean, the jersey sales numbers dropped almost immediately after week 1, with over 60% actually being returned."
While Roger Goodell has yet to make an official statement, early reports indicate the commissioner will not be able to refund Haslam's money, but instead may be able to hook him up with $1 billion NFL.com online store credit.