Former Baltimore Colt Joe Washington has agreed to join the NFL investment team headed by Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, making him potentially one of the first black owners in the NFL.
"He's going to be an active part of the team, possibly even general manager," Weinglass said last night.
Among the five cities vying for an NFL expansion team, St. Louis was the only one with a black investor. Former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton is part of that group.
The league has been criticized for a lack of minorities in its owners boxes.
Although he acknowledged the addition of a minority might enhance his group's appeal to the NFL, Weinglass said Washington "is not going to be a token."
"I need someone who can communicate with ex-football players, and I know him and like him," Weinglass said.
"We thought it was a good business move," Weinglass said.
Washington, who lives in Baltimore, was traveling last night and was unavailable for comment.
The former running back played for the Colts from 1978 to 1980, leading the team in rushing with 956 yards in 1978 and 884 yards in 1979.
Before joining the Colts, he played for Oklahoma University and spent a year with the San Diego Chargers. From 1981 to 1984 he was with the Washington Redskins, where he rushed for a team-high 916 yards in 1981. He played for the Atlanta Falcons in 1985.
Weinglass said he met Washington two years ago when he visited Weinglass' diner, Boogie's, in Aspen, Colo. Washington was approached about joining the investment group by a friend, Richard L. Pearlstone, who is already a member of the Weinglass group.
He agreed to join two days ago, Weinglass said.
"He said he always wanted to be part of owning a team," he said.
Other members of Weinglass' group include Hollywood movie producer Barry Levinson and local businessmen Michael Sullivan, David Bernstein and E. Douglas Carton.
Weinglass' group is competing with two other Baltimore ownership efforts, one headed by Maryland author Tom Clancy and the other by Florida businessman Malcolm Glazer.
A former investment group headed by land developer and former state Democratic Party chair Nathan Landow also included a black investor, Washington lawyer and former Urban League head Vernon Jordan. The group dropped out of the running last year.