The Browns had planned to honor Art Modell before the regular-season opener Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, but they canceled their tribute at the request of the Modell family, Neal Gulkis, the team’s vice president of media relations, said today.
Modell, who bought the Browns in 1961 and moved the team to Baltimore in 1996, died Thursday of natural causes at age 87.
Gulkis said the Browns had hoped to “strike the right balance” between respecting Modell and their fans, many of whom are still angry about his decision to move the team. The Browns intended to give recognition to Modell with a brief public address announcement, not a moment of silence or any type of scoreboard display, Gulkis said.
But Modell’s son, David, spoke to Browns President Mike Holmgren, and the plan was nixed.
“At the request of the Modell family, we will not be having a public recognition at the game,” Gulkis said. “The final decision was made [Saturday] based upon respecting their wishes.”