Monday, January 21, 2013
Is sentiment changing on Art Modell?
By Jamison Hensley
The Ravens are headed to the Super Bowl, and a day before the big game, Hall of Fame voters will decide whether Art Modell gets inducted.
Modell passed away just before the start of the season at the age of 87, but his spirit remains with the Ravens. They wear the black "Art" patch on their jerseys, just over their hearts. And Ray Lewis was wearing a Modell T-shirt after Baltimore's AFC Championship Game victory.
This is the closest that Modell has been to reaching the Hall of Fame since, coincidentally, the Ravens were in the Super Bowl 12 years ago. Tony Grossi, who was working for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland at the time, was in charge of presenting Modell's candidacy and spoke against inducting the former Browns and Ravens owner in 2001.
But now Grossi, who is with ESPN Radio in Cleveland, is keeping an open mind, asking Cleveland football fans for their input on what to do. He is conducting an informal Twitter poll as a guide on whether he should speak against Modell, in favor of him or stay out of the discussion. Grossi is asking everyone to use the hashtag #ArtIn or #ArtOut.
If Grossi speaks in favor of Modell, it would significantly help Modell's chances. I'm not holding out much hope for a chance of mind or heart. But the move shouldn't be held against Modell if it wasn't used against Al Davis from getting enshrined. It's understandable that Browns fans still paint Modell as a villain. Those who knew him as an owner and a man will remember him much differently.