The following is a story shared by our sister station, WEWS, in Cleveland.
It's a tale of two cities.
One is mourning the loss of a man who brought the beloved game of football back to its city. Another is celebrating the end of what many consider to be a two decades-long curse on its current franchise.
Across the country, many sports fans are mourning the death of former Browns owner Art Modell. People are tweeting and posting their condolences to the Modell family on Facebook.
In Baltimore, fans are saddened by his passing and many are reflecting on how Modell brought the professional football franchise back to the city nearly 20 years ago.
Words of appreciation and gratitude are flooding Twitter feeds with the hashtag #Ravens.
Early Thursday morning, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis ( @Jamal31Lewis ) tweeted:
"RIP to Art Modell. It was a great pleasure and a privilege to play under one of the great pioneers of the NFL."
On our sister station WMAR-TV's Facebook page, John Stern wrote:
"RIP Mr. Modell, you were a pioneer in the early days of the AFL/NFL. Thank you for bringing football back to Baltimore. You are a true Hall of Famer.
Karen Green also posted:
"Thank you Mr. Modell for all that you have done for the Baltimore community, the state of Maryland and for the game of football."
ESPN reporter Michael Smith ( @michaelsmith ) tweeted:
"RIP Art Modell. Thanks for helping lay the foundation for the modern NFL. Hopefully a Hall of Famer someday soon."
Among the gracious comments that continue to pop up on social media are less than positive comments making it apparent Cleveland fans still hold resentment over Modell's decision to move the franchise to Baltimore nearly 20 years ago.
Hundreds of Facebook comments have flooded our Facebook page describing Modell as the man who stripped Cleveland of a football team and took with him the city's heart and soul.
Vanessa Earls wrote:
"RIP. He broke a lot of hearts in Cleveland, but I am sure his family and friends are broken-hearted now that he is gone. My thoughts and condolences go out to those who loved him."
Browns fan Bret Brown wrote:
"Although I disliked his decision to move the beloved Browns, Art Modell made his mark on the game and made the NFL what it is today."
Kelli Byard also posted:
"Whether you love him or hate him, you can't deny that Art Modell played a huge roll in the way we see football today. My prayers go to the family and friends who are mourning his loss."
Many fans are hoping Modell, who played a huge role in the creation of Monday Night Football, will be honored in some fashion when it kicks off with the Ravens vs. Bengals on Monday.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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