Fowler close to becoming NFL’s first black owner
MINNEAPOLIS – Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler is close to becoming the NFL’s first black owner after reaching an agreement to buy the Minnesota Vikings, according to several reports.Red McCombs has been trying to sell the team for three years, and Phoenix radio station XTRA-AM, ESPN.com, KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities, and the Star Tribune’s Web site all reported Sunday that the deal with Fowler would be announced Monday.Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor also made an offer to buy the Vikings. He said Sunday he hadn’t heard from McCombs since his proposal nearly two weeks ago and believes Fowler bid $625 million.”I was given a message that they were going to respond and then they didn’t,” Taylor said before the Timberwolves played the Chicago Bulls. “That’s when I started to assume that they already had something with Reggie. … And I’ve heard and I think some other people have heard, that it’s 625 and our offer was not in that area.”Vikings spokesman Bob Hagan said Sunday night he knew of no plans for an announcement. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello didn’t return a call seeking comment.McCombs and Fowler have been silent since beginning a short-term agreement to negotiate exclusively, but Taylor has spoken frequently and openly about his recent push. Taylor inquired about submitting another bid once the period of exclusivity had begun and was told by the McCombs camp it was OK.”We gave them a number of alternatives and said if none of these work out with you, come back with how you would change it,” Taylor said. “We weren’t like, ‘This is the last or final offer.”‘But with no response from San Antonio, where McCombs has his office, Taylor sounded resigned to Fowler buying the team.NFL owners are scheduled to meet in March in Maui, so the process could take awhile – and it’s not a sure thing. League rules require 24 of the 32 owners to approve a sale, and the NFL also mandates that a general partner must put down 30 percent of the cash portion of any franchise purchase.Little is known about Fowler’s personal wealth, but the Arizona Republic reported Saturday that he’s worth more than $400 million.McCombs bought the Vikings in 1998. Since then, they’ve sold out every home game and made the playoffs four times in seven seasons – twice advancing to the NFC championship game.Unhappy with a lack of progress toward a new stadium, McCombs put the team up for sale in May 2002.
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