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Celebs Deny They’re Buying Bears

November 15, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ A report that a celebrity triumvirate of Walter Payton, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan plan to buy the Chicago Bears just isn’t true, all three said Friday.

And a Bears spokesman said the team isn’t up for sale.

The Chicago Sun-Times cited unidentified sources saying a deal was in the works.

But Jordan said before Friday night’s game against Charlotte that he wasn’t interested in owning any pro team.

``None at all, especially not the Bears,″ he said of the hapless 1-9 NFL club.

``I’m not looking in the very near future to be the owner of a football team,″ Payton said Friday. ``At this point, I have not discussed this with anyone in Michael’s camp or Oprah’s camp. I don’t know how this got started.″

Winfrey also denied the report.

``This is totally false,″ a statement from Winfrey’s Harpo Productions said. ``Neither Oprah nor anyone else at Harpo has had conversations about this and Oprah is not interested in buying any sports team at this time.″

Bears spokesman Brian Harlan said there has been no indication that the team will be for sale ``in the foreseeable future.″

But Payton, the NFL’s leading career rusher for the Bears, who now serves on the team’s board of directors, did not rule out the possibility of buying a team someday.

``If the right situation came about, I would like to put my talents on the line,″ he said.

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