Browns honor family request, scrub Art Modell tribute

The Cleveland Browns won’t be acknowledging the death of former owner Art Modell before Sunday’s opener against Philadelphia. The franchise had planned to do so with an “appropriate recognition” for Modell, but scrapped it at the request of his family.

Modell’s son, David, asked that the Browns not do anything for his father, feeling a tribute might spark an ugly backlash from Cleveland fans still bitter that Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore.

The NFL has asked the league’s other teams to honor Modell with a moment of silence or similar gesture before Sunday’s games. Modell, who died Thursday at 87, was a central figure in the league’s growth in the 1960s and ‘70s, particularly with his work on the TV committee.


Modell was known among most NFL reporters to be one of the more approachable, friendly and certainly funniest owners. He had a deep affection for Los Angeles and the entertainment industry, as his late wife, Patricia Breslin, was an actress who appeared on many TV shows, among them “The Twilight Zone.” She died last October.

Modell also provided me with one of the most memorable quotes of my career. It was about a decade ago, when I was working on one of hundreds of stories on failed attempts to bring the NFL back to L.A. The quote was in reference to efforts to revamp the Coliseum for an NFL return.

Quipped Modell: “Putting a new dress on an old hooker is not the way I want to go dancing.”


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