The Rooney family has been working to restructure the ownership of the Steelers to separate ownership of the team from racetrack and gambling interests also owned by the family, according to a statement from the team today.
Ownership of a team and of gambling interests by the same parties is inconsistent with NFL policy, the statement said.
Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, the oldest son of team founder the late Art Rooney, said he will "do everything possible to work out a solution to ensure my father's legacy of keeping the Steelers in the Rooney family and in Pittsburgh for at least another 75 years."
Rooney said he wants to stay in the football business while some of his four brothers plan to focus on the racetracks in New York and Florida and other interests. Dan and his son, Steelers President Art Rooney II, are arranging financing to buy Dan's brothers' shares in the team in order to continue substantial ownership of the franchise by the Rooneys, the statement said.
"There is no reason to believe that the current internal discussions will have any impact on our fans or on our team this season or in the seasons to come," Art Rooney II said.
The other Rooney brothers, Art Jr., Timothy, Patrick and John, each has an ownership interest in the Steelers. Another related family, the McGinleys, also owns a minority interest in the team.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asked former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to represent the league in discussions with the family in order to reach an agreement on the separation of the gambling interests and on a restructuring of ownership if part of the team is sold, the statement said.