Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver wants to be clear: His team is not for sale.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Weaver was negotiating to sell the Jaguars to billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos, who might consider moving the team to Los Angeles.
"I must once again reiterate the fact that I am not selling the Jaguars," Weaver said Thursday. "The team is not for sale, and I cannot say it any more clearly than that. I'm not going to speculate about the future. Whatever happens in the future, the Jaguars will be the Jacksonville Jaguars."
Weaver said the situation has not changed from last year, when he hired a firm to help him refinance debt and look at the possibility of adding investors. Jacksonville went 11-5 in the regular season last year and lost in the second round of the playoffs.
Even with the success, the team had three home games blacked out because of slumping ticket sales and is facing more of the same this season.
But Weaver said ticket sales haven't been a factor in his decisions, pointing to the signing of high-priced free-agent receiver Jerry Porter and the lucrative, long-term contracts given to coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback David Garrard.
"Those are not moves that are made if a team is going to be sold," Weaver said. "I don't know how I can be any stronger in reconfirming my commitment to bringing a championship to Jacksonville. We're excited and energized about the upcoming season, and we want our fans to be as excited as we are."
Metropoulos, the former chairman and chief executive officer of New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods, also denied the report.
The Daily News reported that discussions between Weaver and Metropoulos were being brokered by Sal Galatioto of the New York sports investment firm Galatioto Sports Partners. The newspaper reported that Metropoulos previously has unsuccessfully tried to buy two other NFL franchises, the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins.
According to the report, Metropoulos was interested in a 100 percent purchase of the Jaguars and that he would keep Weaver on for two years while he learns how to operate an NFL franchise.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press