CLEVELAND - Art Modell's family has asked the Cleveland Browns not to acknowledge the former owner at Sunday's season opener.
The Browns had planned an "appropriate recognition" for Modell, who died on Thursday at the age of 87. But Modell's son, David, spoke to Browns president Mike Holmgren and requested the team not do anything to recognize the late owner who remains vilified by many Cleveland fans for moving his team to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
The Browns will grant the family's wish. Any tribute for Modell before Sunday's game against Philadelphia could have triggered an ugly backlash by Browns fans.
Fans hold signs during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland. Former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell has died. He was 87. The team said Modell died of natural causes early Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he had been admitted Wednesday. Modell was among the most important figures in the NFL as owner of the Cleveland Browns, who became the Ravens after he took the team to Baltimore in 1996 — a move that hounded him the rest of his life.
AP file photo/The Repository, Scott Heckel
Team spokesman Neal Gulkis said the Browns had intended to have a tribute read over the public address system.
The NFL has asked all its teams to observe a moment of silence or acknowledge Modell, who owned the Browns from 1961-95.