Jaguars deny Fred Smith purchasing part of team

Fred Smith has ventured into the professional football world before, but this time he is not, say the Jacksonville Jaguars and Smith's company FedEx.

Reports and rumors on sports talk radio and the Internet had the FedEx CEO buying a stake in the team from Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, but both the Jaguars and FedEx say there is no truth to it.

"It's just not true. It is just a rumor," the Jaguars told First Coast News, which posted the story on its website.

Smith's corporate communications shot the rumor down as well with a statement saying, "The rumors that Fred Smith has any involvement with or interest in the Jacksonville Jaguars are not true. Any speculation stating the opposite is patently false and incorrect."

Actually, there is a bit of irony in Smith being linked to a purchase of the Jaguars. Smith, who also once owned the ill-fated Memphis Mad Dogs of the CFL, was part of the Memphis group in 1993 that was in the running for one of two NFL expansion teams that were to begin play in 1995.

Those franchises eventually became the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars, with the Jacksonville group actually folding its bid at one time in the sweepstakes, only to be encouraged by NFL owners to jump back in.

The Memphis group had believed itself to be a strong contender, but one of the reasons Jacksonville won out over Memphis was that the city of Jacksonville completely refurbished and rebuilt essentially a new stadium on the old Gator Bowl site, while the city of Memphis was only willing to do moderate renovations to the existing Liberty Bowl at the time.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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