Eddie DeBartolo gave up his stake in the San Francisco 49ers yesterday, leaving the club in his sister's control and resolving a feud over the family's billion-dollar financial empire.
The tentative agreement divides the assets of the Youngstown, Ohio-based Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. and allows DeBartolo and his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, to go their separate financial ways.
Once the deal is signed, lawsuits filed by the siblings against each other will be dismissed, according to a source close to the negotiations. The suits, filed in federal court in Ohio, are on hold.
Sam Singer, a spokesman for the corporation, confirmed a tentative deal had been reached. It still must be approved in court.
The tentative deal ends a messy battle between the DeBartolos that arose from Eddie DeBartolo's entanglement in a Louisiana gambling fraud scandal, which led to a guilty plea for failing to report a felony. He was also serving a year-long suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue last March.
The siblings owned equal shares of the corporation, which was the nominal owner of the 49ers.
Denise DeBartolo York had said for some time that she wanted to divide the family holdings because she and her brother had radically different business philosophies.
Under terms of the agreement, Denise DeBartolo York and her husband, John York, now the 49ers executive vice president, have control of the team. The couple also retained three racetracks and the corporate offices and name.
In yesterday's agreement, Eddie DeBartolo acknowledged owing the corporation $94 million. He received stock and real estate holdings and interest in some development projects, Singer said.
DeBartolo, who is in the process of selling his Atherton, Calif., home and moving to Florida, wasn't available to comment.
While the deal kept the team in the family, it ends Eddie DeBartolo's 22-year association with the club. A flamboyant, demanding owner, DeBartolo was known as a free spender who lavished money on his players and expected championships in return. The club won five Super Bowls with DeBartolo in charge, the last coming in 1994.
* LIONS: Barry Sanders's father said he would encourage his son to meet with team vice chairman William Clay Ford Jr. in the executive's efforts to talk the star running back out of retirement. But even to William Sanders, the prospect of a meeting remained uncertain, given that Barry Sanders was touring Europe and his father was unable to immediately reach his son.
Sanders, 31, retired Wednesday after 10 years with the Lions, although he's 1,458 yards shy of breaking Walter Payton's NFL career rushing record of 16,726 yards.
* EAGLES: Quarterback Donovan McNabb agreed to a seven-year contract worth as much as $54 million with incentives, ending contentious negotiations that were marred by racial accusations by his agent, Fletcher Smith.
* RAVENS: Actor Gene Hackman showed up at the Ravens' training camp in Westminster, Md., to do research for his upcoming role as a pro football coach. Hackman will play a replacement coach in a movie based loosely on the 1987 NFL players' strike.
"We thought we'd come out and try to get some technical expertise from some of the real coaches," said Hackman, who watched the practice with Ravens owner Art Modell from a golf cart.
"The Replacements" is the third movie Hackman has filmed in Baltimore in the past four years, including the highly successful "Enemy of the State."
* STEELERS: Hours after Jamain Stephens couldn't complete a series of 40-yard runs on a 94-degree day, the Steelers cut the 1996 first-round draft choice, who started 10 games at right tackle last season. The Steelers also got a jolt when running back Jerome Bettis reported to camp with an undisclosed left knee injury. He was injured 10 days ago while working with track coach Bob Kersee in St. Louis. Bettis is expected to be ready for the Sept. 12 opener against the Browns.
* CARDINALS: The team cut tight end Chris Gedney, who underwent surgery to remove his colon in July. Gedney said he was shocked because he was counting on the team's support as he underwent further surgery and mounted a comeback.
* COWBOYS: Former Maryland Terrapins offensive lineman Mike Kiselak damaged his left knee and could be out for the season. Defensive end Kavika Pittman broke several small bones in his right hand.
* PATRIOTS: The team agreed to terms with first-round picks Damien Woody (center) and Andy Katzenmoyer (linebacker).