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Condoleezza Rice joins Broncos new ownership group

Condoleezza Rice, the former US Secretary of State who has been linked to a variety of potential NFL roles in the past, is joining the Denver Broncos’ new ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, the team new owners announced Monday.

“We are pleased to welcome former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to our ownership group,” Walton said in a statement released by the Broncos. “Secretary Rice is a highly respected public official, accomplished academic and corporate leader, and is known as a passionate and knowledgeable football fan who has worked to make the sport stronger and better.”

Rice, 67, is director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. She had previously been mentioned as an NFL commissioner candidate and had once been linked to the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching job, speculation that quickly dismissed her and the team. She was also a founding member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

“Her unique experience and exceptional judgment will be of great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization,” Walton said.

The amount of their investment in the franchise was not disclosed.

“It’s an honor to be part of this ownership group,” Rice said in a statement released by the Hoover Institution. “Football has been an integral part of my life since it was introduced to me and I am thrilled to be a part of the Broncos organization today. I spent much of my younger years in Denver so it is an adventure of a lifetime and a great opportunity to combine my love of football with my love of this amazing city and its team.”

Rice became the first black woman to serve as Secretary of State when she succeeded Colin Powell in January 2005. She served until January 2009.

The group, led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, agrees to buy Broncos for $4.65 billion

In June, Walton’s group agreed to buy the Broncos for $4.65 billion from the Pat Bowlen Trust, according to a person familiar with the purchase agreement. The deal is still subject to final approval by other NFL team owners.

Walton announced upon closing of the deal that Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments, had agreed to join his ownership group. Hobson, who is black, is also CEO of Starbucks Corporation and a director of JPMorgan Chase.

NFL owners passed a resolution in March endorsing diversity in franchise ownership.