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Jimmy Haslam apologizes to NFL owners for scandal

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's first big move on the national stage was having Mike Holmgren replaced in the front office. Haslam's second time in the spotlight was unwanted.

The federal investigation involving Haslam's company -- Pilot Flying J -- has cast a shadow over the franchise at a time when it's selling rebirth under a new coaching staff (the company is accused of running a fuel rebate scheme that defrauded customers.) And it has put Haslam in a negative light less than a year after he joined the NFL fraternity of owners.

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Haslam apologized to his fellow league owners Tuesday at the NFL Spring Meeting in Boston and explained his situation.

"I thought it was important," Haslam told USA Today. "We're partners in the NFL. I wanted to address them face-to-face."

Haslam's talk was not on the league agenda, but he asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for time to address the group. Haslam explained the measures he's taking to put his Pilot Flying J house in order and how the problem arose.

"I know he feels a sense of embarrassment," New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "He said they're going to do everything they can to get it under control and put it behind them, and that he felt bad for the attention that it brought to the Cleveland franchise and the NFL, and he was going to make it right."

Haslam appears to be taking the steps necessary to put the problem behind him, but the scope of his problem is not all up to him now. We still don't know what the FBI and IRS will conclude after their investigation.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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