Shahid Khan, Photo Courtesy: University of Illinois
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The would-be new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars today promised to "responsibly and enthusiastically serve" the Jaguars and its fans if the sale is approved.
"Owning a team in the National Football League has long been my personal and professional goal," Shahid Khan said.
"Becoming the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a dream come true for me and my family but, above all, would be a privilege. To that end, I would like to thank Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of his team for their counsel and guidance throughout my efforts over the past several years."
Jaguars owner Weaver, announcing what he acknowledged to be a poorly kept secret this afternoon, said he feels comfortable selling to Khan because Khan "has the same passion about the NFL...about football in Jacksonville as we (Weaver and his wife) do."
Weaver said at a news conference today the Jaguars aren't going anywhere despite new ownership preparing to take over in the next five weeks.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that this team is going to be in Jacksonville," replied Weaver when asked about the intentions of Khan.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said he had called the new owner, and jokingly added that he wanted to urge Khan to buy a home Downtown.
Brown also said he has no worries that the team will move anywhere, even Los Angeles. Brown will do everything he can to make sure the team stays in Jacksonville, he said.
Financial terms were not disclosed in today's news conference, but Weaver did cite some dates of the pending sale.
He said he signed the deal this morning, after waiting for approval from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and the next step is for an 8-man ownership committee to ratify the deal. Weaver, who sits on that board, said he expects a 7-0 vote (he will recuse himself) on Dec. 6.
After that, all NFL owners must ratify the deal on Dec. 14 at the owners meeting in Dallas, and Weaver expects that to also be no problem.
He said the deal should close Jan. 4.
Forbes has ranked the 32 NFL teams according to their value. Jacksonville ranked last, with a value, according to Forbes, of $725 million, less than half of league-leading Dallas, worth $1.85 billion.
Khan is no stranger to an NFL team purchase deal. He attempted to buy the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but was defeated in the effort by a minority owner of the Rams.
"If the proposed transaction is approved in the weeks ahead, I will responsibly and enthusiastically serve the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars and their great fans, and I will be fully committed to delivering Jacksonville its first Super Bowl championship," Khan said. "This is a franchise with tons of potential, playing in a community that is passionate about football and loves to win. I can't think of a better place to be."
Weaver expressed nothing but admiration for Khan.
"This gentleman is absolutely the American story," he said, describing Khan's background from his birth in Pakistan to his immigration to America.
Khan worked his way through college in an auto parts store, Weaver said, before purchasing Flex-n-Gate.
Khan was not at today's announcement, but Weaver said he expects him to be present at the next home game, Monday night against San Diego.
Weaver also said Khan, a jet-setter, plans to buy a home in the area, and while he will not be a day-to-day manager of the team, he will be hands-on.
Weaver said he will continue running the team until the deal closes.
In other team news this afternoon, Weaver said General Manager Gene Smith agreed to a contract extension, offering some stability to the team during changes in ownership and coaching.
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