*(CNN) — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is joining the new Denver Broncos ownership group, the NFL team announced Monday.
Rice said it was an honor to join the ownership group.
“Football has been an integral part of my life since the moment it was introduced to me, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Broncos organization today.” Rice, the daughter of a football coach, said on Facebook.
She added: “I spent much of my younger years in Denver, so to be able to combine my love of the game with my love for this great city and team is an adventure of a lifetime and a great opportunity.”
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Walmart heir Rob Walton called her a highly respected public servant and an accomplished academic and business leader.
“Secretary Rice is well known as a passionate and knowledgeable football fan who has worked to make the sport stronger and better,” Walton said in a statement on behalf of the Walton-Penner family group that has offered to buy the team.
“She moved to Denver with her family when she was 12 years old and went on to attend the University of Denver for both college and graduate school. Her unique experience and extraordinary judgment will be a great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization.”
Last month, the Broncos and the Walton-Penner family entered into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the team from the Pat Bowlen Trust. The agreement is subject to approval from the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership.
According to ESPN, the deal is expected to be worth $4.65 billion — a record price tag for a North American sports franchise.
Rice was the national security adviser in the George W. Bush Administration from January 2001 until January 2005, when she became Secretary of State, a position she held until January 2009.
Rice’s name has been linked to football groups before.
In 2018, ESPN reported, citing a league source, that the Cleveland Browns wanted to interview Rice for the head coaching position.
“I love my Browns — and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level,” she said on social media. “On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches. One doesn’t have to play the game to understand it and motivate players.”
The Browns also denied the report and eventually hired Freddie Kitchens.
In the early 2000s, Rice told the New York Times and several other media outlets her dream job was to be NFL commissioner. She was also on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee for three years beginning with the first group in 2014.
Rice already has a sports ownership stake. Earlier this year, she joined a group of equity partners in the WNBA.
Rice lives in California, where she is the director of the Hoover Institute, a public policy think tank, at Stanford University.
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