Former Ravens owner Art Modell dead at 87

Modell brought football back to Baltimore

BALTIMORE - Art Modell, the man who brought NFL football back to Baltimore 16 years ago has died. He was 87.

Modell died at 4 a.m. Thursday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  His sons John and David were by his side. A cause of death wasn't given.

PHOTOS | Check out the slideshow of Art Modell here .

"My brother John Modell and I were with him when he finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October," said Former Ravens president David Modell said in a statement.

"'Poppy' was a special man who was loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law Michel, and his six grandchildren," said Modell. "Moreover, he was adored by the entire Baltimore community for his kindness and generosity.  And, he loved Baltimore. He made an important and indelible contribution to the lives of his children, grandchildren and his entire community.  We will miss him."

SPECIAL SECTION | Remembering Art Modell

More about Art Modell

A former New York advertising executive, Modell bought the Cleveland Browns in 1961. The Browns won the NFL championship in 1964. Modell became one of the guiding forces in the modern NFL, negotiating multi-million network television contracts and is credited with helping create Monday Night Football.

Frustrated over the failure to secure a new stadium, Modell moved the Browns franchise to Baltimore in 1996, where they were renamed the Ravens. In their fourth season in Baltimore, the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV 34-7 against the New York Giants. But it was the move of the Browns that earned him the enmity of Cleveland fans. It is also believed by many to be the primary reason denying him admission to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

COMMENTARY | Cleveland's take on Art Modell

Modell became a visible owner, involved in numerous civic and philanthropic causes. He was a familiar figure on the sidelines at Ravens practices, riding around in a golf cart.

Aging and in failing health, Modell sold 49 percent of his shares in the Ravens to Steve Biscotti in 2000. Four years later, he sold his remaining stake in the team to Biscotti.

Modell is preceded in death by his wife, Patricia, who died last year. He is survived by two sons, John and David, and six grandchildren.

Modell had recently been hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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