Modell slashes office staff NFL owner lays off 30 of 50, shapes team for 'new city, new vision'

Local hiring is promised

Baughan, Reynolds fill last 2 coaching spots

March 02, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

In a day that featured addition and subtraction, Baltimore's NFL team completed the formation of its coaching staff yesterday and announced it was laying off more than half of its full-time, front-office staff in Cleveland.

About 30 of the team's approximately 50 front-office staff members have been given pink slips and severance pay packages, which will take effect April 1. By that time, the team intends to have its Baltimore operation running at full strength.

"I'm saddened by it. It's very unpleasant, particularly as it relates to people with many years of service here [in Cleveland]," team owner Art Modell said. "But we felt it was best to go in a different direction with our personnel. This is a new team in a new city with a new vision. We will be doing a lot of local hiring in Baltimore."

Modell said the layoffs affect employees with as little as a "few years" of service to those with as many as 31. He added that many were given the option of staying with the team.

"Some people couldn't come to Baltimore even if they wanted to, with housing situations, having kids in school and so forth," Modell said. "It's not easy. I wanted to be as helpful as possible. Nobody is being dumped on the street."

Employees were informed of the layoffs in a Wednesday meeting with team vice presidents Jim Bailey and David Modell, neither of whom returned phone calls yesterday.

"It was a day of relief," said Dino Lucarelli, a public relations assistant who chose not to move with the team. "Now everybody knows what's happening. It wasn't as emotional as Nov. 6 [the day Art Modell announced his intentions to move the team to Baltimore]. That was the toughest day."

Coach Ted Marchibroda also made the final two additions to his staff by hiring linebackers coach Maxie Baughan and defensive backs coach Alvin Reynolds.

By adding Baughan, 57 -- who coached linebackers at Tampa Bay for the past four seasons -- Marchibroda renewed an association that goes back nearly 30 years. From 1975 to 1979, Baughan, a 15-year NFL veteran, served under Marchibroda as the Baltimore Colts' defensive coordinator.

Before that, Marchibroda coached for the Los Angeles Rams in the late 1960s and the Washington Redskins in the early 1970s, when Baughan played for each team. Marchibroda and Baughan coached together with the Detroit Lions in 1982. That year, Baughan's defense ranked first in the NFC in rushing defense and sacks.

"Maxie and I have worked together on four different teams, so I'm well aware of his abilities," Marchibroda said. "Somewhere along the line, you need the older, wiser guys. And it's also nice to get younger guys with lots of energy and fresh, new ideas."

Reynolds is one of those younger guys. At 36, he is coming off a three-year stint as a defensive assistant and assistant defensive backfield coach with the Denver Broncos. Before joining the Broncos, Reynolds spent 10 years coaching at Indiana State, his alma mater. There, he played strong safety from 1978 to 1981. As a senior, he received two Heisman Trophy votes.

"In interviewing him, I felt he was a strong individual," Marchibroda said of Reynolds. "He knows what he wants, and he's got a strong personality."

By bringing in Baughan and Reynolds, Marchibroda barely beat the league's March 1 deadline for hiring assistants from other NFL teams.

On Wednesday, Marchibroda is tentatively scheduled to tour the Owings Mills complex that will serve as the team's training facility. Eventually, the team will move into a new facility to be constructed much like the complex formerly used by the Browns in Berea, Ohio.

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