The Jacksonville Jaguars' franchise will be sold to Pakistani-born entrepreneur and auto-parts mogul Shahid Khan, current owner Wayne Weaver announced during a Tuesday news conference.
Weaver said he and his wife, Delores, had been entertaining the idea of selling the team for some time, and his goal was to find someone "who had the same passion about football in Jacksonville as we do."
"My dream is to see this team be successful in Jacksonville, and I found an owner that has the commitment and that passion," Weaver said. "He really wanted to buy a team, and he wanted to do it here in Jacksonville. This gentleman is absolutely the American story."
Weaver said he first met Khan about five years ago and has grown very fond of him over the years. Khan is expected to buy a home in Jacksonville, Weaver said, and keep the current management group intact.
"He will be hands on," Weaver said. "Not day-to-day here, the way I am, but he'll be here running the business with our current management group. (It was) important to me that we had that local feel that we built over the last 18 years."
The news of the team's sale comes on the heels of coach Jack Del Rio's firing after eight-plus seasons in Jacksonville. Weaver confirmed that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will take over as interim coach.
Weaver said he signed the agreement with Khan on Tuesday morning, following an endorsement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. On Dec. 6, the NFL's finance committee, which Weaver is a part of, will meet to recommend approval of the deal, which then would be voted on by all 32 owners during the Dec. 14 league meeting in Dallas. Weaver said he expects the deal to receive unanimous recommendation from the finance committee.
Weaver expects the sale to close on Jan. 4, 2012. He didn't disclose the terms of the deal.
The announcement brought forth questions that the Jaguars could be headed to Los Angeles, as the city is weighing two separate stadium proposals. Weaver said the deal doesn't include any written requirement to keep the Jaguars in North Florida, but he doesn't believe the team will move.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that this team (is) going to be in Jacksonville," Weaver said. "You have to trust a individual's integrity, and I have no doubt that Shahid is going to do what he plans to do."
Weaver added that he had ignored inquiries from interested parties from California.
"I've had calls from California that I refused to take," Weaver said. "It was wasting their time and my time."
In other Jaguars news, general manager Gene Smith has received a three-year contract extension, Weaver said.