BALTIMORE, Md. - Former NFL players and owners continued to pay tribute to Art Modell, the longtime owner of the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens, who passed away earlier this week in Baltimore.
"I most respected his character - No. 1," said former Baltimore Colt and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Lenny Moore . "Art was a man who grew your respect, because he was always sincere, honest, caring, right up front and, my gosh, when he came here I didn't have anything but respect for him. He greeted all of us with open arms. There is nothing I could say other than how much I appreciate how he did it."
"Everything that Art immediately did for former Baltimore Colts players - and that goes up until his passing - was remarkable. How much respect, deep respect we have for him, and how much we appreciated him and how he cared about us was something very special - extremely genuine."
Former Browns running back and Executive Calvin Hill had this to say:
"I played four years for Art and worked four years in his front office at the Cleveland Browns. He was an owner who valued and respected his players. He was the father of player development. The programs you see now in every major league of every major sports team are the result of his efforts to inform players how to become responsible professionals - both on and off the field. He had an appreciation of the hard issues facing players in terms of dealing with fame, finances and personal matters. He truly cared for and valued his players."
"Regardless of whether or not you think [Art] deserves to be [in the Pro Football Hall of Fame]," said former Browns running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown, "he won the World Championship in 1964, he won the Super Bowl in 2000, and he was a great inspiration to the television development of the National Football League. So, why should he not be in the Hall of Fame? I say that he should be, regardless of what the people of Cleveland think. You just don't deal with revenge or animosity to a man that has done so much for the game."
"Visionaries know and understand things long before others do," ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said of Modell. "Art Modell's vision for the NFL was impeccable. Personally, I see him as one of the most important figures in the history of the NFL. He was an integral part of every major initiative that has vaulted the league to where it is today. The NFL wouldn't be what it is without Art Modell's vision. He championed revenue sharing because he understood the league wouldn't be as successful if only a few teams enjoyed success.
"He understood the importance of television long before most people around him did. He always gave back to the community. The entire Modell family has built a history of giving back to their communities. When Modell moved his team from Cleveland, he didn't strip the Browns of their history. He allowed Cleveland to maintain their Browns' legacy, history and tradition, even as he moved his team from the city. We didn't get that consideration in Baltimore when the Colts moved. Art Modell should definitely be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Apart from the players, his contribution to the league is as important as anyone in the league's history. In the Baltimore Ravens, he built a model franchise. We'll miss him."
"I knew Art for many years and always had a great deal of respect for him," said Tennessee Titans owner "Bud" Adams. "Our teams competed against each other in the same division for decades and there were many memorable games between our two teams. He was very proud of his team, and they had many fine players and coaches. He also was an asset to the NFL, as he was deeply involved in our broadcast negotiations over the years and provided a great deal of leadership there. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."