Browns Offer One Line on Modell’s Death

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CLEVELAND — The passing of former Browns owner Art Modell had former players and coaches remembering their time spent with the man who brought Cleveland its last professional sports championship.

Modell died Thursday morning of natural causes, according to the Baltimore Ravens.

“My feeling about it is think about all the good things, and think about where he’s going right now and he’s at peace,” said Sam Rutigliano, who coached the team from 1978-84. “And lets really forgive him, for what he did and let it pass.”

The team’s current radio color commentator, Doug Dieken, who played for the Browns from 1971-84, expressed much sadness with Modell’s death.

“It’s sad in so many ways because he was my boss for 14 years as a player, and probably another 12 as a broadcaster when he owned the team,” said Dieken. “He was a good boss. He was good to the players.”

Dieken later added, “The problem became that he was a millionaire in a billionaires game.”

Modell owned the team for 35-years, but his final year in Cleveland remains his legacy in the city.

“He probably regrets more than anything that he had to move, but that’s something that always haunted him,” said Dieken.

Like Dieken, Browns Hall of Fame tight-end Ozzie Newsome spend all of his professional football career playing for Modell.

Following his playing days Newsome continued to work for Modell in Baltimore and became the first minority general manager in NFL history. 

Newsome told, “Art wanted to know everything we were doing, and he directed us every day. He was demanding, but he made me laugh and smile at the same time. The tougher the situation, the better his humor.”

The Cleveland Browns organization simply offered the following one-line statement:

“The Cleveland Browns would like to extend their deepest condolences to the entire Modell family.”

*For additional coverage on the passing of Art Modell, click HERE

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