Friday, December 6, 2013
The Associated Press
CLEVELAND - Avoiding a negative reaction and potentially ugly scene, the Cleveland Browns will honor a request by Art Modell's family and not acknowledge the former owner's death before Sunday's opener.
The Browns had planned an "appropriate recognition" for Modell, who died Thursday at the age of 87. But Modell's son, David, spoke to the Browns' president, Mike Holmgren, and asked the team not do anything to recognize the late owner who remains vilified by many Cleveland fans for moving his team to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
A Browns spokesman said the team will grant the family's wish.
Any tribute for Modell could have triggered an ugly backlash by some fans in attendance. Modell was never able to return to Cleveland after he chose to move the Browns because he couldn't get city officials to build him a new stadium.
The Browns had intended to have a short tribute read over the public-address system before the Browns hosted the Eagles. Following Modell's passing Thursday, the Browns released a one-sentence statement offering their condolences to the Modell family.
The team's original decision to recognize Modell's death had brought strong reaction from some Browns fans.
An NFL spokesman said the league asked all its teams to honor Modell with a moment of silence or "other appropriate gesture" at this week's games. The gregarious Modell, who owned the Browns from 1961-95, is credited with helping the league's growth in the 1960s through television contracts.
On Saturday, hundreds of Ravens fans paid their respects to Modell at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium as his casket, draped with the American flag, was placed at the 50-yard line. David Modell and his brother, John, greeted fans who came to honor their father.
BRONCOS: Denver released backup quarterback Caleb Hanie on the eve of its opener against Pittsburgh and promoted defensive tackle Sealver Siliga from its practice squad.
The moves meant rookie Brock Osweiler will serve as Peyton Manning's backup against the Steelers.
BEARS: Chicago elevated running back Armando Allen to the active roster from the practice squad and placed running back Lorenzo Booker on injured reserve.
JAGUARS: Jacksonville activated running back Maurice Jones-Drew and waived second-year running back Keith Toston.
COLTS: Offensive guard Joe Reitz didn't travel with the team to Chicago for Sunday's opener.
Reitz, a backup, didn't practice all week after he was kicked in the knee. Seth Olsen won the job at left guard by beating out Reitz, who started 11 games last season, and Jeff Linkenbach, last season's starter at right tackle.
RAMS: Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, one of the key pieces in new coach Jeff Fisher's rebuilding plan, signed a five-year contract extension.
When defensive end Chris Long got a multiyear extension on the first day of training camp, the team said Laurinaitis was also a priority.