Titans owner says team isn't for sale
Tennessee Titans owner Tommie Smith refuted reports that the team is for sale, calling it "nonsense."
Smith told the Tennessean tthat speculation that Peyton Manning could buy the team after he retires is untrue.
"The team is not for sale," Smith said. "We are not entertaining any conversations in regard to the sale of the team. Period. Any statements that say so are completely off base, and I resent it. It is not helpful to what we are trying to accomplish as an organization and as a family. This is a family-owned business, and it is going to be a family-owned business. We meet as a family routinely and we enjoy it.
"We are proud to be owners, we are proud to be in Nashville and we are looking forward to resurrecting the situation as far as on-field performance and are working toward that. We are going to build an organization that the city and the fans in Nashville and the mid-South can be proud of. We are sorry about last year's record. It was disappointing for all of us. But in no event is the team for sale at any price, period."
Bud Adams founded the franchise in 1960 as the Houston Oilers before moving the team to Nashville in time for the 1997 season. He renamed them the Titans in time for the 1999 season.
CBS reported that the Titans could be looking to sell and mentioned FedEX CEO Fred Smith, a Redskins minority owner, and Steelers minority owner David Tepper as potential owners.
"All that is totally irresponsible,'' Smith said. "All of that is completely off-base and unfounded. I have only the highest respect for Fred Smith. He is a true captain of industry and one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the 20th century in American business. I think very highly of him. But I am not talking to Fred Smith about this, or anything else for that matter. I would be glad to visit with him, but not about the team. The team is not for sale. As for Mr. Tepper, he is successful in the business world and I wish him success. But they have had nothing to do with the Tennessee Titans and my family."
As for Manning, Smith shot that down as well.
"All of that is just nonsense," Smith said. "It's completely unfounded. It's just irresponsible,'' Smith said. "It's not going to happen. Peyton may retire; I am not saying that's not going to happen. And I want to say I have only the highest regard for Peyton and the Manning family. They are a first-class family, Peyton and Eli and Archie have contributed greatly to the National Football League and I appreciate their efforts. I wish them the best in their future pursuits, but it's not with me."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun