Modell's Family Asks Browns To Forgo Recognizing Late Former Owner
The Browns had “planned just a brief read over the public address system” to honor the team's late former Owner Art Modell, but did not publicly recognize Modell's passing during their pregame activities yesterday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Ravens Senior VP/Public & Community Relations Kevin Byrne said that Browns President Mike Holmgren “reached out to Modell's son, David, and said 'we want to do the right thing by the Modell family.’” Byrne said, “David told Mike that he really appreciated the call and the offer, but that he knew it would not be totally accepted by the Cleveland fans. David suggested that the Browns not do a tribute.'' Cabot noted the Browns “received a backlash from angry fans when they announced Friday that they would have an ‘appropriate recognition’ Sunday before the home opener against the Eagles” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/9). In Baltimore, Aaron Wilson noted the concern was that an “angry reaction would take place if the Browns did something for Modell due to the lingering hard feelings from the fan base” (Baltimore SUN, 9/9). Browns VP/Media Relations Neal Gulkis said Friday of the organization’s original plan, “We're trying [to] strike the right balance. We want to show respect and dignity for Modell's family, the community and the fans” (CLEVELAND.com, 9/7). In Cleveland, Bud Shaw wrote, “Credit David Modell for doing the right thing in asking the Browns to forego a public remembrance of his late father. Nothing good, or heartfelt, could've come from it” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/9).
A FRESH START: The PLAIN DEALER's Cabot in a separate piece wrote yesterday's game marked the “beginning of the Jimmy Haslam era, and it promises to be a golden age in Cleveland Browns football.” Haslam, the team’s prospective Owner expected to be formally approved by the NFL in the coming weeks, “comes to town with a Jerry Jones swagger and a presidential smile and firm handshake.” Haslam “brings money, drive, energy and a passion to restore the Browns’ luster.” He will "have the same profound impact on the city" that Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert has, and he will be "instrumental in developing the lakefront around the stadium." Cabot: "I think he'll be one of the best things to happen to Cleveland in a long, long time and that he'll transform the Browns into a consistent winner” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/9). PRO FOOTBALL TALK’s Mike Florio cited a source as saying former Eagles President Joe Banner has “agreed to terms with the Browns.” Florio wrote, “Nothing will become official until Haslam is approved by the NFL as the new owner of the team. And Haslam may want to wait to unveil Banner until team president Mike Holmgren’s status is resolved” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 9/9).