BALTIMORE - Art Modell is being remembered today for more than just giving Baltimore an NFL team again. Here are memories of Modell from friends and family. Please add your memories below!
Former Ravens president David Modell issued this statement:
"Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at 4 a.m. this morning. 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.
"'Poppy' was a special man who was loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law Michel, and his six grandchildren. 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."
John Harbaugh via @Ravens
"Art Modell was a visionary who broke barriers to help make the NFL what it is today."
Ray Lewis via @Ravens
Ray Lewis visited Art Modell yesterday, and "shared with him things that a son would say to a father."
Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti via BaltimoreRavens.com
"He was my friend, my mentor. We will miss him so much. How lucky are all of us to have had Art in Baltimore? How fortunate I am to have had him teach me about the NFL. His generosity, his love, his humor, his intelligence, his friendship – we were all blessed by this great man. We will strive to live up to his standard."
NFL Executive Joe Browne the Longest-Serving Employee in the League Office via BaltimoreRavens.com
"Art Modell was a most influential member of Commissioner Rozelle's 'Kitchen Cabinet' for many years, along with Dan
Rooney and the late Tex Schramm. Ironically, Art is the only member of that group who is not enshrined in Canton. Hopefully, the Hall of Fame media selectors will rectify that oversight in the near future – not as an emotional reaction to Art's death, but as a rightful reflection of his longtime contributions to the NFL."
Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick via BaltimoreRavens.com
"Art Modell was all about family, and that's how he directed the Ravens. He treated me, my family and everyone in the organization like a member of his family. Before I think of the gratitude I owe him for giving me the opportunity to be his head coach, I think of the way he treated all of us. I don't believe there's another NFL franchise that embraces that more than Art did. That was reflected in the people he hired. He created an atmosphere that was the best. It was a joy to come to work for him. He accomplished so much as an owner: championships, playoffs, the TV contracts, the leadership in the NFL. They are all great and deserving of the Hall of Fame. Those who worked with Art will all say the same thing. He was a Hall of Fame person."
Longtime Browns and NFL Personnel Executive Michael Lombardi via BaltimoreRavens.com
"Vision, humor and generosity always guided Art Modell's life. His humor made him a daily pleasure to encounter. His genuine generosity, which supplied you with the tools to learn – as well as work your craft – will always be cherished, but his futuristic vision left a lasting impact on the game he deeply loved."
Longtime Browns Fan, Father of John Harbaugh & NCAA Championship Head Coach Jack Harbaugh:
"It's so sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Modell. Scribes and pundits who believe in fairness and honesty dropped the ball today in allowing Art Modell to pass from this Earth without being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"In addressing this in Baltimore, you speak to the choir; in addressing this to those around the country, who grasp the contribution Mr. Modell made over five generations of being a pioneer and visionary in this great game and great league – highlighted by his leadership in negotiating TV contracts and being an owner for two NFL Championship teams – you speak to the choir. But, there is a narrow-minded corps of individuals who came up small today. Very small."
Former Browns Executive Vice President and Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi:
"The NFL has lost a beloved member of its family. Along with Pete Rozelle, Art Modell helped revolutionize television's impact on sports; created preseason doubleheaders that drew 80,000 when the games were drawing 15,000; won two championships. He was a true bon vivant and a wonderful man to work for.
"There is a lot of laughter in heaven today. Art Modell has arrived with some great lines."
Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Emeritus Daniel Rooney:
"Art Modell was a good friend to our family, and he will be sadly missed. He was instrumental in helping the National Football League
become what it is today, and he always had the league's best interest at hand. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family, as he will be missed dearly by the Steelers organization and the Rooney family."
Buffalo Bills Owner Ralph Wilson, Jr.:
"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Art Modell. Art and I were good friends, and while we remained competitive in respect to our teams, we shared many laughs over the years. He was an influential figure in our league and was respected tremendously within the NFL ownership group. Art was a loving family man, and he and Pat made a great team. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to his sons David and John and the entire Modell family and all of his friends."
Former Browns Pro Bowl DT Jerry Sherk:
"Art Modell was an innovator, and he will take his place with other long-time owners that have had a major impact on the NFL. He was instrumental in the AFL/NFL merger and in bringing Monday Night Football to life.
"Personally, I will remember Art for his quick wit and for his appreciation of a good joke. But mostly, I will remember him for his affection for the game. Art loved the NFL, and he loved his players. I join with my teammates – the Cleveland Browns that played for Art – in sending condolences to John and David Modell, and the rest of the Modell family."
Former Browns Pro Bowl RB Kevin Mack:
"I hate hearing this news. From where I was before I came to the Browns, and then early in my career with the team, to the person I became at the end of my playing career, I owe Art Modell. He saved me. He was the one person who stood by me and gave me a second chance. I know what the majority of Clevelanders feel, and I understand some of that. But, he saw my goodness. He pushed me in the right direction. I could never thank him enough."
Former Baltimore Colts DB Bruce Laird:
"Art Modell was a man of passion and compassion. He meant so much to his players, because he knew about them, their lives, their wives and families.
"He ran a family football business, and it was family first. For Art, it was also the family of football – not the business of football. And obviously, he entered the league when it needed him most, at the right time, in 1961."