Block dinner gives Modell chance to get acquainted B. Thompson to receive Browns' Courage Award

March 19, 1996|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

The Ed Block Courage Award Dinner tonight will be a coming-out party for Art Modell in his new home.

Modell will be making his first major public appearance in Baltimore since Nov. 6, when he announced he was moving the Cleveland Browns here.

It's not his first appearance at the dinner, though. He said he attended years ago and knew the late Ed Block, the Baltimore Colts trainer for whom the dinner is named.

"He was considered the dean of trainers," Modell said.

Modell said he is looking forward to the event.

"I hope to meet some of the old Colts and some new people," he said. "We're here to stay. I'm anxious to get involved in the community and to get known by people and, hopefully, to be liked by people."

During the 12 years Baltimore didn't have an NFL team, the Ed Block dinner was the city's lone tie to the league. All the proceeds benefit the abused children of the St. Vincent's Center Courage House. The dinner at Martin's West will attract a sellout crowd of about 2,000.

The Browns' winner of the annual award, given to the player on each team who demonstrates courage, was safety Benny Thompson. Recipients are chosen by their teammates.

Like most of the Cleveland players, Thompson has mixed feelings about leaving Cleveland.

"I'm like a kid caught in a divorce," he said. "I didn't have anything to do with that. I have to go where the boss man says. I love Cleveland and I love the fans there, but this is a job. Hopefully, I'll come here and get acquainted with a lot of the fans. I'm the kind of player who feeds off the fans."

Thompson said he hopes the team can rebound from last year's second-half collapse after the move was announced.

"It was frustrating for me," he said. "We lost some games we shouldn't have lost. I'm looking forward to having a bigger and stronger team than we had last year."

A standout on special teams, Thompson suffered a broken wrist and dislocated elbow in a 30-28 loss to the Detroit Lions on Oct. 8, but missed only three games.

He has 118 career special teams tackles, and his 21 last year tied him with Eddie Sutter for the team lead in that category. He played for the New Orleans Saints from 1989 to 1991 and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992-93 before joining the Browns in 1994.

Ed Block Courage Award winners

AFC: Buffalo, QB Jim Kelly; Indianapolis, WR Wendell Davis; Miami, QB Dan Marino; New England, LB Vincent Brown; New York Jets, LB Kyle Clifton; Cincinnati, QB David Klingler; Baltimore, S Benny Thompson; Houston, LB Brian Wortham; Pittsburgh, LB Jerry Olsavsky; Jacksonville, DT Paul Frase; Denver, LB David Wyman; Kansas City , OL John Alt; Oakland, OL Don Mosebar; San Diego, OL Eric Moten; Seattle, WR Brian Blades. NFC: Arizona, RB Garrison Hearst; Dallas, OL Erik Williams; New York Giants, WR Chris Calloway; Philadelphia, RB Charlie Garner; Washington, S Keith Taylor; Chicago, LB Vinson Smith; Detroit, WR Aubrey Matthews; Green Bay, DL Reggie White; Minnesota, DL John Randle; Tampa Bay, OL Paul Gruber; Atlanta, S Alton Montgomery; St. Louis, RB Ron Wolfley; New Orleans, WR Lee DeRamos; San Francisco, DE Dennis Brown; Carolina, S Brett Maxie.

Pub Date: 3/19/96

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