Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the NFL’s concern over the FBI investigation into Pilot Flying J, the family company of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
“Well, of course, when you have that type of thing, but I’ve spoken with Jimmy several times and met with him,” Goodell said Wednesday in New York. “Jimmy is doing everything he’s asked. He’s cooperating. He wants to make sure that he is doing all of the right things in that regard and he has assured us that he is going to.”
Haslam, who’s CEO of Pilot Flying J, and Goodell met Tuesday to discuss the problem. The NFL has said it has no plans to ask Haslam to step away from the Browns during the investigation despite the negative publicity.
The league vets all ownership candidates, and Haslam’s $1 billion purchase of the team from Randy Lerner was unanimously approved in October. Goodell said the league was not aware of the investigation.
“It’s an investigation and it was held very tightly by the FBI and the authorities,” Goodell said. “They didn’t share this information with us and they shouldn’t. That’s something that is their prerogative.”
Haslam released a statement through a company spokesperson.
“It was a good meeting, but we cannot expand beyond the commissioner’s comments,” it said.
Linebacker Quentin Groves was arrested for solicitation April 17 in the east side suburb of Orange, according to the police report.
The Orange and Beachwood Police departments and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office conducted a joint prostitution sting at a hotel. According to the police report, Groves called an undercover female officer from Beachwood, arranged a meeting and agreed to a price. He was arrested without incident after he knocked on the hotel door.
Groves, 28, was released from the scene and a court date was set for May 10. A box of condoms and $195.70 were taken into evidence.
“I want to apologize to the Browns organization, our fans and the city of Cleveland for putting myself in this situation,” Groves said in a statement distributed by his agent, Sean Kiernan. “I realize I let a lot of people down, most importantly my family. I am committed to learning from this and moving forward.”
Groves, who’s married with two children, signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Browns in March. He had his best season for Arizona in 2012, totaling 41 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble. He’s expected to be in Cleveland’s rotation at outside linebacker.
The arrest occurred on the second night of a three-day team minicamp, the first under coach Rob Chudzinski. Groves attended all three practices.
A Browns spokesman said the team was aware of the situation but had no further comment.
CHASING A RECEIVER
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday night the Browns are seriously considering a trade for Dolphins receiver Davone Bess (5-foot-10, 193 pounds) and several teams are in the mix, citing a league source. Bess had 61 catches for 778 yards and a touchdown in 13 starts in 2012.
Bess, 27, would join Josh Gordon, Greg Little, David Nelson and Travis Benjamin among Cleveland’s wideouts. The report said the Browns would likely have to give up midround draft picks.
A BIG MINGO FAN
LSU coach and Elyria native Les Miles thinks the Browns would hit a home run with the selection of LSU outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo.
“It would be a great pick,” Miles said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Chronicle-Telegram. “‘Keke’ is a great young man, hardworking, cares about the team, is never late and is never an issue in any way.
“His skills are exceptional. He has wild skills. He’s one of those rare, rangy men that has great quickness. He’s tough to block, tough to touch at times.”
Mingo played 4-3 end for the Tigers but projects into the 3-4 scheme being installed by the Browns. Miles has no doubt he can make the conversion.
“In high school I saw him play corner, free safety, linebacker and defensive end,” Miles said. “I think he would give hell to just anybody. He uses his hands and feet so well, and he’s a bright, bright player. You put it on the board and he’ll pick it up.”
Miles graduated from Elyria High School and is a member of the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame.
“Tell Elyria I said hello,” he said.
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