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Bucs owner suffers stroke

Some team officials were caught off guard by the news that Malcolm Glazer fell ill about a week ago.

Published April 25, 2006


Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer suffered a stroke on April 16 that impaired his speech and left him partially paralyzed in his right arm and leg.

Glazer, 77, was released Monday from the Cleveland Clinic after spending eight days there, team officials said. There are two such hospitals in Florida, one in Weston and another in Naples, but it's unclear where he was admitted April 16.

"On behalf of the entire Glazer family, I want to thank everyone at the Cleveland Clinic for the outstanding care," said Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer in a statement released by the team Monday. "My father's spirits are high and doctors expect his condition to improve with rehabilitation."

Team officials declined to provide further details of Glazer's stroke, and it is unknown when or if he will resume his role as the Bucs president and member of the NFL's Finance Committee.

Bucs general manager Bruce Allen and coach Jon Gruden were not available for comment, in keeping with the family's wish that Joel Glazer serve as the only spokesperson.

The NFL said it is monitoring Glazer's condition and hoping he continues to improve.

"Our office has been in touch with the Bucs, and everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery for Mr. Glazer," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

Three of Glazer's sons - Joel, Bryan and Ed - run the day-to-day operations of the Bucs along with Allen and Eric Land, the team's chief operating officer. Glazer and his wife, Linda, reside in Palm Beach.

How Glazer's condition might affect his business interests outside of the Bucs wasn't immediately known Monday.

Glazer, who ranked 258th last year in Forbes magazine's annual list of the 400 richest Americans, also leaves day-to-day management of his key assets to his sons.

He installed sons Avram, Bryan and Joel on the board of Manchester United last year after acquiring controlling interest in the soccer club in May for 790-million pounds ($1.4-billion). The acquisition of Man U, one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, drew the vociferous opposition of many die-hard fans.

The Glazer family also controls Zapata Corp., a Rochester, N.Y., holding company that holds a 58 percent interest in Omega Protein Corp., a major manufacturer of fish oil products. Avram Glazer is chairman and chief executive of Zapata.

Last month, Glazer appeared to be in excellent health as he strolled the hallways of the Hyatt Regency in Lake Buena Vista at the NFL owners meetings.

Glazer purchased the Bucs in 1995 for a then-record price of $192-million from the estate of late owner Hugh Culverhouse after several failed efforts to buy other pro sports teams, including the New England Patriots, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He quickly turned the Bucs from a laughingstock to one of the league's premier franchises with a state-of-the-art stadium. Under his leadership, the Bucs have reached the playoffs six times and won Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003.

Glazer always has been reclusive and rarely grants interviews, part of a keep-them-guessing business strategy. He attends most Bucs games but spends most of his time at his home with his close-knit family and tight-lipped friends.

In fact, some team officials were caught off guard by the news Monday, receiving word of Glazer's stroke just one hour before the news release was distributed.

Despite his condition, doctors apparently agreed he was well enough to return home.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Poststroke rehabilitation, which Glazer is undergoing at his home, helps individuals overcome disabilities that might result from stroke.

The institute's Web site says a stroke may cause problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment and memory. About 25 percent of the people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within five years.

--Times staff writers Louis Hau and Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

[Last modified April 25, 2006, 05:36:18]

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