Sunday, September 9, 2012

On the Passing of Art Modell

When I was 14 my family and I watched the Browns beat the Colts 27-0 to win the NFL championship. Dr. Frank Ryan was at quarterback; Paul Warfield and Gary Collins at receiver; Ernie Green at running back; Leroy Kelly was running back kickoffs and punts; on the offensive line were Dick Schafrath, John Wooten, and Gene Hickerson; on defense, Galen Fiss, Jim Houston, Vince Costello, Jim Kanicki, Dick Modzelewski, Bill Glass, Bob Gain, and Paul Wiggin played on the line and at linebacker; from his cornerback position Bernie Parrish directed the aggressive play of the defensive backs; Lou Groza was still kicking, as he had since the end of World War II; and we had the incomparable Jimmy  Brown.

Art Modell owned that team and he owned the town.
Art was deeply involved in the community, fundraising for and donating to countless charities. He was also a leader among the owners, and is the person principally responsible for making professional football more competitive than other major sport because of his demand that television revenue be shared equally among all the teams.

But the Browns wouldn't win again. In 1996 Art left us and took the team with him after enduring as much losing - on the field and on the balance sheet - as he could afford. Art loved this town, but he had to find a "greener" pasture.

We've developed a bad habit of hating the ones we love. Jim Thome, Lebron James, and Art Modell all left us for business reasons. Their departure wasn't personal and it doesn't reflect on us.

But our attitude does reflect on us. Resentment is the polar opposite of good sportsmanship. We have to stop hating. It's time to forgive and forget. Rest in peace, Art.

Will Huhn

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