- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged he's concerned over the federal investigation into Jimmy Haslam's family-run truck stop chain and met with the Browns owner on Tuesday.
"Jimmy's doing everything he's asked. He's cooperating," Goodell told reporters at a pre-draft event Wednesday. "He wants to make sure that he's doing all the right things in that regard, and he's assured us he's going to."
Goodell says the league couldn't have known about the investigation before Haslam bought the team last year unless the FBI had chosen to share that information. If the league had known, it's unlikely that Haslam would've been unanimously approved by NFL owners seven months ago.
The NFL now has to wonder whether there will be another ownership change with the Browns. While no formal charges have been filed against Haslam or his company, he could still be implicated in the investigation or his business could suffer from this high-profile case. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Haslam will lack the financial resources to continue owning the Browns.
So, on the eve of their first draft, the new regime of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi has to wonder if this will be their last. A change in ownership often leads to a change in decision-makers. Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert know that all too well.
5hEric D. Williams