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Titans ownership turmoil is looming

Tennessee Titans v Detroit Lions

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 18: A fan of the Detroit Lions watches action during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field on September 18, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Titans defeated the Lions 16-15. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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It’s been quiet for months, but the Titans’ ownership situation could soon become a very loud problem for the league and the team.

In the aftermath of a report from Jason La Canfora of CBS that the Titans previously were slapped with a six-figure fine due to non-compliance with NFL ownership rules, a league source tells PFT that the situation could soon be heading toward critical mass.

The problem is simple. When team founder Bud Adams bequeathed the franchise in equal measure to three different branches of his family tree, he failed to give any one of them control over the franchise. As a result, no one has it, in violation of league rules.

While Amy Adams Strunk has been acting as the primary owner, she doesn’t have the kind of irrevocable final say that the league wants. Her family members, Susie Adams Smith (who owns another 33 percent) and Kenneth Adams IV, his mother Susan Lewis, and his brother Barclay Cunningham Adams (who each own 11 percent), have yet to give Strunk the authority she needs to resolve the situation, in part because there’s a belief that Kenneth Adams IV aspires to eventually run the team.

As the source explains it, Susie Adams Smith and her husband, Tommy Smith, are willing to sell their interest to Strunk at a fair value. Strunk, however, either isn’t able or inclined to buy. Kenneth Adams IV and his immediate family members also are willing to sell in order to solve the problem.

They may have to simply sell it all. Alternatively, the two non-Strunk branches could come together and sell a total of two thirds of the team to someone who would take over control of it.

The Titans have insisted that the team isn’t and won’t be for sale. At some point, however, they may have no choice -- unless the Titans decide to fight the league in court over the question of whether the ownership rules violate federal antitrust laws.