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Former Browns owner Modell dies
Modell always defended moving the team to Baltimore, but said he regretted the pain he left in Northeast Ohio

Kabir Bhatia
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Former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell died this morning at age 87 after a lengthy illness.

Modell was born in Brooklyn, and used money he made in advertising to buy the Browns in 1961 for $4 million.  But the team hasn’t won a championship since 1964, and Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore in 1995 after a three-year fight with the city over Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

At the time, he told his new city he understood the irony of moving to a city where Colts had left for Indianapolis a decade earlier.

Modell empathy

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“I know what you went through 11 years ago, ‘cause that’s exactly what’s happening in Cleveland right now.  And I am deeply, deeply sorry, from the bottom of my heart.”

Cleveland sued over the move, and the NFL stepped in to negotiate a deal in which the city retained the Browns’ name and legacy.  The controversy  is widely seen as one reason Modell was nominated, but never made it into, the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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