BALTIMORE MD - OCTOBER 24: Art Modell previous owner of of the Baltimore Ravens comes onto the field for halftime celebrations of the ten year Super Bowl anniversary team during the game against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24 2010 in Baltimore Maryland. The Bills lead the Ravens at the half 24-20. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
The NFL community lost a longtime member this morning, when the Ravens, per Aaron Wilson, announced the former Browns and current Ravens owner Art Modell died "peacefully" Thursday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Ravens announce that Art Modell, 87, "died peacefully this morning of natural causes" at Johns Hopkins Hospital.— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) September 6, 2012
Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns for $4 million in 1961, and among his earliest orders of business, he fired coach Paul Brown, despite his long history of success.
Most famously, though, Modell moved the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996, beginning what is now known as the Baltimore Ravens. The Cleveland Browns franchise was re-activated in 1998, and history views the Ravens franchise as the expansion team, and left all team records with the Browns' name.
Baltimore would go on to win Super Bowl Bowl XXXV in January, 2001, just five seasons since Modell moved the team to Baltimore. The current Browns have yet to win a playoff game since being re-activated.
Modell eventually sold his majority stake in the Ravens to Steve Biscotti, the team's current majority owner, but kept a one percent share of the team, which, according to the Ravens media guide, he has held until his death.