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Former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo Interested in Buying the Panthers

Count former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo among those wanting to buy the Carolina Panthers, Cam Inman of Bayareanewsgroup reports.

A day after the Panthers announced that embattled owner Jerry Richardson will sell the franchise, ESPN reported that DeBartolo is interested.

DeBartolo issued a statement saying he’d “respect Jerry Richardson’s wish to not discuss the sale of the Carolina Panthers until after their season is over,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

DeBartolo presided over the 49ers dynasty that produced five Super Bowl championships before he got entangled in legal trouble, drew a year suspension from the NFL and turned control of his 49ers shares to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York.

As the 49ers owner from 1977-2000, DeBartolo also revolutionized many aspects of the NFL, including from a business-operation and salary-cap standpoint.

Before getting voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year, DeBartolo shed more light on the end of his 49ers tenure, which was sparked by a corruption scandal related to a Louisiana gambling license. He pled guilty in 1998 to a felony charge of failing to report $400,000 in alleged extortion money to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

“Truthfully the team wasn’t really taken away from me,” DeBartolo said in January 2016. “This has been a misnomer for many, many years.

“Commissioner (Paul) Tagliabue did obviously suspend me (for a year). But as I was going through negotiations with my family — and with lawyers and a judge in Akron, Ohio — it didn’t come to that team being taken. It came down to a decision to be made, whether I wanted the 49ers or whether I wanted to take the other part of the company.”

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