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Former NFL Owner Art Modell Dies at the Age of 87

Doug Pensinger, Getty Images Sport
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images Sport

Former Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell passed away early Thursday morning at the age of 87.

David Modell and his brother John were at their father’s side when he “died peacefully of natural causes.”

Modell was an innovative thinker as he helped negotiate the NFL’s lucrative TV contracts, served as president of the league from 1967 to 1969, and chaired the negotiations for the first collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968.

“I don’t think you get the NFL to where it is today without Art’s ideas and his willingness to push them,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said two years ago. “Art understood the value of our product and what it meant to our culture.”

However, he will most likely always be remembered as the owner who ripped the hearts out of Cleveland Brown fans when he moved the franchise to Baltimore in 1996.

The move is believed by many to be the main reason why Modell never made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was one of 15 finalists in 2001 and a semifinalist seven times between 2004 and 2011.

The Ravens won their lone Super Bowl in January 2001, less than a year after Modell sold a minority interest of the team to Steve Bisciotti.

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