Former Cleveland Brown Ozzie Newsome argues for Art Modell’s place in the Hall of Fame: A fan’s perspective

"He deserves to be in there, he deserves to go in before I did."
These are the words former Cleveland Browns fan favorite and tight end Ozzie Newsome uttered to Baltimore Ravens season ticket holders regarding Art Modell on a conference call. I loved watching Bernie Kosar throw to Newsome as a child. He was one of the greatest tight ends of all time. Newsome deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Modell certainly does not.

For Modell it has always been about his ego and of course, money. After Modell purchased the team in 1961 for $4 million dollars and using only $250 thousand of his own, he fired legendary coach Paul Brown because Brown, who had already won seven league championships prior to Modell's purchase, refused to implement all of his suggestions.

Art Modell during his time in Cleveland
Wikimedia Commons


Years later when Modell took control of Cleveland Municipal Stadium which had been previously controlled by the City of Cleveland he consistently used it as a resource to profit. Suite rental profits were not shared with the Cleveland Indians in which 81 contests were played each year. Modell booked rock concerts at the stadium during Indians road trips that subsequently damaged the field.

When the new "Gateway Sports Complex" which includes modern day Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena, Modell was asked to be a part of it. He declined and instead demanded renovations be made to Cleveland Municipal Stadium, a building he owned, at the city’s expense.

The city agreed to make improvements to the stadium however Modell stated it was not enough. He was moving the team to Baltimore the next season.

In the final game as the original Cleveland Browns, former NFL head coach Mike Ditka said, "…these are the best fans in the NFL. I said that when I came here with my Bears. They (the Cleveland sports fans) don't deserve this. If Modell had any sort of sense of dignity he would have sold the team."

This is the type of man Newsome is adamant about getting into Hall of Fame. Tell me exactly what he did for the betterment of professional football? As a Clevelander I know he broke the hearts of every single Browns fan who grew up going to ball games with their father on a cold Sunday afternoon. He took joy from hard working men at the steel mills and the Ford plants scattered throughout the metropolitan area. Most of all he told a city that supported the team no matter what that they were no longer good enough. His wallet was more important.

For that Mr. Newsome, Art Modell will NEVER belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame from this fan's perspective!

More Cleveland Browns content from this Contributor:

Browns' draft pick Phil Taylor engages fans over Twitter: A fan's perspective

Cleveland Browns give fans something to believe in: A fan's perspective

Cleveland Browns' best and worst games for the 2011 NFL season: Local fan's take

Sources:
National Football Post: Ozzie Newsome on Art Modell, Hall of Fame: "He deserves to be in there"

Paul Rados is a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @PSRados

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Updated Thursday, May 5, 2011