Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eddie DeBartolo would be interested, but knows of no sale plans for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

EDITOR'S NOTE: A correction notice has been appended to the end of this story.

MOBILE, Ala. — Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the five-time Super Bowl champion as former owner of the 49ers, said he would buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they were for sale.

But DeBartolo says the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs and the Manchester United soccer club, has no plans to divest itself of the NFL team.

"The Glazers are friends of mine, and I have no reason to believe the Bucs are for sale," DeBartolo told the Times on Tuesday.

"Tampa has been my home for the past nine years, and if the team was for sale, I would definitely be interested in putting together an ownership group to buy the Buccaneers. But I have no reason to believe they're for sale."

There has been recent speculation that the Glazers might consider selling the Bucs because of the large debt they reportedly incurred in their $1.4 billion purchase of Manchester United.

Manchester United CEO David Gill has been quoted as saying the Glazers took 660 million pounds (or $915 million) of debt when they purchased the soccer club. He said they are paying $59.9 million per year to service the debt.

Since their purchase of Man U in 2004, the Bucs did not pay enormous signing bonuses for many top-flight free agents until signing former Saints center Jeff Faine to a six-year, $37.5 million contract in March with $15 million guaranteed.

On Friday, the Bucs fired coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen. Both signed three-year extensions last season, leaving the Glazers on the hook for about $25 million over the next three years.

They replaced them with two in-house candidates — defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who became the youngest NFL coach at 32; and Mark Dominik, 37, who replaced Allen as GM.

For two years, DeBartolo has owned DeBartolo Sports and Entertainment, a full service agency in Tampa that represents athletes and broadcasters, and provides consulting services to corporations.

DeBartolo, 62, voluntarily resigned his position as owner of the 49ers because of his involvement in a riverboat casino license case that led to the conviction of then-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

DeBartolo pleaded guilty in federal court of failing to report that Edwards extorted $400,000 from him to win a casino license. In '99 the NFL imposed a one-year suspension, which automatically terminated on Jan. 31, 2000. He also paid a $1-million fine.

In a letter from then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue to DeBartolo and his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, dated Feb. 14, 2000, Tagliabue wrote: "I am not aware of any basis for extending the league-imposed suspension and I do not expect to do so."

But DeBartolo eventually sold the 49ers to his sister, Denise, and brother-in-law John York.

Over the years, DeBartolo has been approached by other NFL teams to gauge his interest in ownership, but he has concentrated his efforts on his real estate empire and the sports and entertainment agency.

CORRECTION: Eddie DeBartolo Jr.'s sold the San Francisco 49ers to his sister and brother-in-law of his own accord. Earlier versions of this story in print and online mischaracterized the reasons for the sale.

Fast Facts

About Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

Born: Nov. 6, 1946,

Youngstown, Ohio

Resides: Tampa

Family: Son and heir of the late Eddie Sr., who made his fortune as a developer, especially of shopping malls; Eddie Jr., a Notre Dame graduate, has three daughters.

Eddie DeBartolo would be interested, but knows of no sale plans for Tampa Bay Buccaneers 01/20/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 8:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned


    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  4. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]