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Reports: Art Modell Dead at 87

Former Ravens owner Art Modell brought the NFL back to Baltimore.

UPDATED (7:15 a.m.)—Baltimore media outlets are reporting former Ravens owner Art Modell has died.

FOX45 began reporting around 6 a.m. that Modell had died. On its website, FOX45 reported that Modell, 87, was being treated for heart failure.

Around 7 a.m., WBAL.com and The Sun reported Modell had died.

The Sun reported early Thursday morning that Modell had been hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Modell sold the Ravens to Steve Bisciotti in two parts—49 percent ownership in 2000, and the remaining 51 percent in 2004.

He moved the Ravens to Baltimore before the start of the 1996 season. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in January 2001.

Stay with Patch for updates.

ralahinn1 September 06, 2012 at 10:44 AM
RIP Art Modell
number9dream September 06, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Art Modell = Bob Irsay
chsmm1 September 06, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Prayers are with the family.. & B-more will be forever grateful for returning a Prof. football team to Charm City.
John T. September 06, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Wrong. Not even in the same league. When Model was finally forced to move his team, he left the name Browns and all of the history with the city of cleveland. Irsay could've done the same thing but didn't. Model = Class. Irsay = Classless
Kelly B. September 06, 2012 at 02:29 PM
RIP Art. It's a shame the NFL didn't have the decency to enshine him into the Hall of Fame before he passed. All the millions the owners have made through TV rights are because of him.
j johnson (formerly jj) September 06, 2012 at 02:42 PM
In addition, the Cleveland politicians that forced the move, set themselves up for the next round profitably.
Leslie Schildgen September 06, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Prayers to the family and loved ones. Must be a major loss to them.
Elita Sohmer Clayman September 06, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Art Modell exemplifies a fine man in all that he did with charities and the giving of his time and his money. He was respected by all the players and by the fans. The pride that the Ravens give us in more ways is more than just the game. After 16 years of having no team and having our team stolen away from us in the middle of the night. Art brought us our team, our pride and continued the love we have for the game,.Thank you Art Modell. You will always be in our Hall of Fame. Elita Sohmer Clayman Like · · 2 seconds ago ·
Al Day September 06, 2012 at 08:38 PM
In terms of moving teams in the NFL you are absolutely correct. There is no difference in the way things were handled. Cleveland wasn't forthcoming with a new stadium which led to the move from there. Baltimore wasn't forthcoming with a new stadium either with the same result. Each move was done in stealth with little notice and without much care for the fans who supported their team for years. I lived in the Cleveland area at the time they were moved and was witness to the trauma. I lived in Baltimore when the team was moved and witnessed the trauma. A name left behind wasn't much consolation at the time in either city. Only a new team in each city helped. Modell/Irsay were money moguls in the NFL corporation. And I'm sure there are other owners who fall into the same category.
Sean Tully September 06, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Mr. Modell seemed like a decent enough person. He certainly gave of himself in Baltimore and Cleveland. As far as anyone praising him for bringing the Ravens to town or leaving the Browns behind in Cleveland, all I can say is that the N.F.L. is big business and these owners are going to do what serves their interests, which, the last I read, is how corporations work. Fans would probably be wise not to put so much stake on sports teams. Having said that, I am sure I will rise and fall (and hopefully rise again) with the Ravens this year.
Al Day September 06, 2012 at 11:03 PM
I agree with most of what you said with the possible exception about corporations. The NFL is more of a monopoly than most corps. True there are some examples of monopolistic corps out there but the NFL has special privilege bestowed upon them by the congress which allows them to operate above the law in some areas. Plus the fact that they generally use taxpayers monies to build/finance their place of business and in some cases even have guaranty of income from the gov. I guess there are a few examples of that in corporate business as well (ie Solyndra, etc) but for the most part the competition is available to keep most somewhat honest. I realize that may seem like an oxymoron (business and honest in the same sentence) but at least we as consumers have choices. The only choice you have with pro-football is which team. Concessions are a joke, albeit an expensive one and ticket prices are through the roof. As a side-thought I tend to believe that pro-football has done more to hurt the family than much of anything else over the years Mr Modell was around. Not saying he's all to blame, but... Normal male development is replaced with near hormonal instincts during the season. Just look at the Ravens blogs. It's semi-canabalistic. No Mr Modell was a man who found himself in the right place at the right time. An opportunist. Not a super-hero. Sure I am sad for his family and friends. He was a man. But I cannot raise him to the level of saint-hood. sorry...
Paulette G. September 07, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Art Modell was a sleazebag who treated the people of Cleveland terribly and used the people of Baltimore to line his own pockets, yet Baltimore was so blinded by the prospect of getting a football team that they didn't care. My sympathies to the family on the loss of a loved one but, as a public figure, losing Art Modell is no great loss. Don't bother flaming me or insulting me because I've exercised my First Amendment right of free speech. This is my opinion of the man and most of you will probably disagree. There are plenty of people out here who do not think Art Modell was as wonderful as people wish to paint him. That's all I'm saying. Don't make him more than he really was. Go ahead and hate now.
Scott Hoffman September 07, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Paulette - Do you have any idea how much of that money you claim Mr. Modell used to "line his own pockets" he returned to this community? On a social level, he was a philanthropist and that's putting it mildly (Google "The Seed School" for just one example). As far as sports is concerned and contrary to what was posted by Al Day, he was very open and up front with the fans and citizens of Cleveland regarding his ONLY alternative should they decide not to overhaul Municipal Stadium. He also left behind the team name, colors, history, etc. This isn't flaming or insulting, I'm just trumping your mischaracterization of Art Modell as a "sleazebag (sic" with actual facts. You're "don't try and tell me otherwise" attitude is AWESOME, though. I'm sure you're a lot of fun to chat with in real life.
Evets September 07, 2012 at 05:42 PM
@John T. - Mr Modell was forced (by his fellow owners) to leave the team name, history, and uniform colors in Cleveland.
Evets September 07, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Also, Modell announced the move the day BEFORE Cleveland voters were to vote on a tax issue to spend millions of dollars to substantially refurbish Cleveland Stadium. The tax proposal was overwhelmingly approved by voters on November 7, 1995. Prior to the move, Modell was much beloved by the fans in Cleveland, unlike Mr. Irsay here in Baltimore.
Evets September 07, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Interesting, then, that Mr. Modell announced his move to Baltimore the day BEFORE the taxpayers were to vote on approving a tax intitiative to refurbish Cleveland Stadium. He announced the move on November 6, 1995. On November 7th, 1995, Cleveland voters approved (by a wide margin) the ballott measure to overhaul the stadium. Fans had been lead to believe that an approval of the measure meant the Browns would stay. Classy move by Mr. Modell. Not that I blame him - he was running a business, after all. And, as I stated above, he was forced to leave the name and etc. behind to stop the legal proceedings initiated by Cleveland. It was not his idea, it was a settlemnt proposed by the NFL. I am not meaning to imply that Mr. Modell was a bad person because he moved the Browns to Baltimore, but let's not canonize the man for it, either. We can admire his many good deeds while still acknowledging that he broke the hearts of millions of football fans, just as Mr. Irsay did.
Al Day September 07, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Scott Hoffman, I wanted to reply to your reference of my name/comment in your response to Paulette. Regarding your assertion about being open, Mr Modell was promised what he wanted in Cleveland and left anyhow (to wit, the current Cleveland facility being used by the new Browns. I just happened to live in the area at the time and saw the effect his move had on the fans left behind in his wake to speed the team out of town. I'm very glad Baltimore got a team but an expansion team would have been far more appropriate. And as a resident of that area, no Mr Modell was not "open" with the Cleveland fans. By the way I am from Baltimore and was an avid Colts fan before they were stolen by Mr Irsay. So it was a double dose of owner blackmail for me.
Al Day September 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
No, Paulette. No hate here. Your comments were very factual. And for me that is what I go by. I think the analogy I'd give his acceptance in Bmore is like a jilted lover who was then picked up by another suitor. Having something was better than having nothing. I would have like to see the colts forced to return when they left myself. Everytime I see those white and blue jerseys on televised games I cringe, even today. Those Cleveland fans were very loyal just like our fans were/are.
MikeC September 07, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Man! Wiki Mr. Modell and you'll see there isn't very much to celebrate about the man as a sports club owner and professional. As Paulette intimates above, while Mr. Modell owned both the Indians and Browns he developed a Romney-like way to line his pockets with loge revenues. He was found out and kicked out of the Indians org. In the 60's he traded away 4 four of 5 African-American Browns players striking because of racist practices by Mr. Modell. And there's more. Read it. Had he pulled a Rosenbloom/Irsay-like swap for the Browns there might be something left to respect of Mr. Modell's ownership career, but he didn't even bother trying that. Like others here said, Cleveland voters gave him what he wanted, but he and Gov. Glendenning were too sleazy for Cleveland and moved out a day before that happened. I don't celebrate anyone's death. I'm sure Mr. Modell had redeeming qualities, those qualities never existed as a sports team owner. Bye, Mr. Modell.
Evets September 08, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Another thing for Baltimore residents to think about: Mr. Modell moved his team here and pretty much left the management intact. That means that had he stayed in Cleveland, we might assume the Ozzie Smith and company would have made the same decisions they made after the move to Baltimore. They would have drafted Ray Lewis. They would have drafted Jonathon Ogden. They would have hired Brian Billick. They would have Matt Stover as the kicker. Etc., etc., and etc. Therefore, it is not much of a stretch to picture the 2000 Cleveland Browns as winners of Super Bowl XXXV. And you wonder why Cleveland fans feel the same way about Modell as Baltimore fans feel about Irsay? Imagine if the Colts had won a Super Bowl 5 years after moving to Indy! This is what Cleveland fans see. And yet, Baltimore residents see nothing similar about the 2 moves. Amazing.
Otto Schmidlap September 08, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Mr. Modell was a great old-school pro football man. Now the Ravens have a slickyboy for an owner.
MikeC September 08, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Actually, its MLB that enjoys Congress' special monopoly exception, although the Supreme Court has ruled in the NFL's favor a few times, in a suit brought against them by the AFL, that the NFL is a "natural monopoly." http://sportslaw.uslegal.com/antitrust-and-labor-law-issues-in-sports/

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