NFL

Fans line up in stadium to pay tribute to former owner Modell

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Associated Press
9/8/2012 2:26:50 PM
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BALTIMORE -- Ravens fans lined up by the hundreds Saturday morning to pay respects to Art Modell, the man who moved the Cleveland Browns to their city.

The American-flag draped casket was at the 50-yard line of M&T Bank Stadium. Fans, almost all wearing Ravens jerseys, were greeted by Modell's sons, David and John, as they slowly walked down the stadium steps and into a white tent.

When mourners began walking in at 11 a.m., they could see photos of the former Ravens owner on the large video screens and hear Frank Sinatra songs playing. Not surprisingly, the first one heard as the mourners arrived was "My Way."

Modell died Thursday at 87. His funeral is Tuesday, one day after the team opens its season against Cincinnati on Monday night.

Retired offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, one of Modell's favourite Ravens, was there when the purple procession began and he shook hands with some of the fans. Ogden was the first player drafted by the Ravens after the team moved to Baltimore for the 1996 season.

"He always cared about what was going on in your life," Ogden said. "It was always what he could do to help somebody else."

Horace Berean of Baltimore was the first person waiting in line for the stadium gate to open. He arrived at 6 a.m. to secure his spot.

"He did so much for the city. He brought the football team here," Berean said. "He was just a wonderful, generous man."

Bobbie Fine of Columbia, Md., who wore a Ravens blouse and locket, met Modell at games and events.

"Just a kind man. I could talk to him at any time," Fine said. "One of the best men I've ever met."

Art Modell (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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