Browns might attempt to get Colts nickname But league, Indy unlikely to go for it

February 08, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Cleveland Browns officials have had internal discussions about the possibility of acquiring the nickname Colts, a team source said, but it's unlikely they will be able to pry it away from the Indianapolis franchise or the NFL.

If Browns owner Art Modell, who plans to move his team to Baltimore for the 1996 season, got permission to use the Colts name, NFL Properties, which has the rights to market and protect the names, colors and logos of the league's 30 teams, could lose thousands of dollars in revenue.

Asked if the Baltimore Colts could return, Brian McCarthy, the league's manager of corporate communications, said: "No, I don't think that would happen. It's not feasible because the [Indianapolis] Colts are already an established club, and it would be difficult to revert."

Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the team from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.

Modell was not available for comment last night, but a Browns official said Modell has had no discussions with the Indianapolis Colts or league officials, and probably wouldn't in the near future.

"It would be nice to re-establish ties with John Unitas, Raymond Berry and Lenny Moore, but getting that name could cost millions of dollars," said the team official, who requested anonymity. "The Colts are now in another city and went to the playoffs this season. They have established a new tradition."

McCarthy said he was unaware of any league plans to start producing authorized Baltimore merchandise.

"I don't know anything about the Baltimore Mustangs or any other Baltimore logo," said McCarthy. "Anything is speculative."

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