Art Modell dead: Cleveland Browns owner helped transform NFL.

Art Modell Dead at 87

Art Modell Dead at 87

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Sept. 6 2012 1:52 PM

Art Modell Dead at 87

As a new football season kicks off, the NFL says farewell to a towering figure.

Influential owner Art Modell has died from natural causes at age 87.

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Modell spent 40 years as an NFL owner, during which time he helped negotiate lucrative television contracts that would help make professional football more popular than baseball. Modell was hands-on with his Cleveland Browns teams, and players recall Modell speaking with them often and attending almost every practice.

Beloved by fans for years, he became a controversial figure and was vilified in Ohio for relocating the Browns to Baltimore, where they were renamed the Ravens after the 1995 season. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl in 2001.

Modell was never inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, an oversight many attribute to the bad feelings over the move.