Fred Nance, who led negotiations to return a football franchise to Cleveland and was one of five finalists to become NFL commissioner in 2006, was hired by the Browns as their general counsel Tuesday.
A highly respected trial lawyer, Nance will remain a partner at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P., where he has worked for 30 years and heads the firm’s sports and entertainment practice.
''The naming of Fred Nance as general counsel strengthens our ability to manage any number of matters,'' Browns owner Randy Lerner said in a statement. "I've had a strong and productive working relationship with Fred for many years and admire the many and various contributions he's made to the city of Cleveland.''
A Cleveland native, Nance became the first minority candidate to reach the final round of hiring for a position of commissioner in any major league sport.
Nance recently completed a term as Chairman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the nation’s largest Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as a trustee for the Cleveland Clinic and the Cleveland Foundation, among others. In 2008, Nance was named the Distinguished American of the Year by the Northeastern Ohio chapter of the National Football Foundation.