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Former Bengals executive Sawyer dies at 90

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John Sawyer, a former Cincinnati Bengals president and part owner, died Thursday morning in Cincinnati. He was 90 years old.

Sawyer served as team president from its inception in 1968 until 1993 and was as a vice president since 1994. He accompanied Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown and son Mike Brown during the city’s bid for its original American Football League franchise in 1967.

Sawyer also was a part owner of the Cincinnati Reds and was instrumental in the building of Riverfront Stadium, which opened in 1970 and played host to the Bengals and Reds for more than 30 years.

“John was a pioneer with the Bengals,” Bengals president Mike Brown said. “The team wouldn’t have come into existence were it not for his efforts. He was our original president and our primary owner for many years. We lost a critical business partner, as well as a close dear friend.”

Outside of his stake in the Bengals and Reds, Sawyer was president of the J. Sawyer Company, an agricultural and real estate firm in Cincinnati. The former B-17 pilot in World War II was the son of Charles Sawyer, a former U. S. Secretary of Commerce.

Sawyer was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth. Survivors include four daughters and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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