Art Modell, known in Cleveland as the pariah who moved the Browns to Baltimore, died from natural causes early Thursday at the age of 87. The news sparked an online debate over his legacy between his supporters and unforgiving Clevelanders and Browns backers everywhere.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: "Art Modell’s leadership was an important part of the NFL’s success during the league’s explosive growth during the 1960s and beyond. Art was a visionary...[and] built championship teams in Cleveland and Baltimore."
Alec Sulkin: "Art Modell has died. In accordance with his wishes, his body will be moved to the cemetery in a Mayflower truck at 2 a.m."
Fake Pat Shurmur: "Art Modell crushed an entire city and hurt countless people in this region. He did an UNFORGIVABLE thing. But I still pray for his family."
Chad Zumock (one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Eligible Singles in 2011): “Call me insensitive but I'm going ahead & declaring Art Modell's passing as the Browns first win this season. 1-0 baby! Here we go Brownies!”
Tony Grossi, from ESPNCleveland.com: "Art Modell wrote his epitaph as Northeast Ohio's biggest villain of all time."
Cleveland Browns statement on Modell's death, in its entirety: "The Cleveland Browns would like to extend their deepest condolences to the entire Modell family."
Mary Kay Cabot, the Plain Dealer: "Browns have no plans right now to have a moment of silence Sunday in honor of former Browns owner Art Modell, club spokesman said."
Christopher Gordon: Attempting a moment of silence for Art Modell @ Cleveland Browns stadium on Sunday would be a HUGE mistake.
Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL Insider: "Reviled in Cleveland, beloved in Baltimore, Art Modell was one of the NFL's founding fathers. The game is not what it is without him."
Branden Lymer: "Art Modell died. Maybe now Browns fans can fight the real enemies, the management of the last 13 years."
Coverage of Modell from Cleveland Magazine's archive:
- Jim Vickers on Modell and the Browns helmet, Nov. 2009.
- Our readers name Modell the Most Notorious Clevelander Of All Time, Nov. 2006.
- Dan Coughlin stands up for Modell, Nov. 2010.
-Mike Roberts recalls Modell and other Cleveland sports owners gathering in the Pewter Mug, at The Table, Nov. 2011.