Leadership, service make Modell deserving of Hall, Tagliabue says


Brown, Aaron, Frazier watch, speak to team

Super Bowl Xxxv

Ravens vs. Giants

January 27, 2001|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has made it clear in the past that he believes only players and coaches should be allowed in the football Hall of Fame, but he conceded yesterday that there should be a place in Canton for Ravens owner Art Modell.

"Art Modell is now beginning his fifth decade as an owner," Tagliabue said. "He did a tremendous job with the Browns. Only because of some very extraordinary and dramatic plays was he denied the chance to participate in the Super Bowl as the owner of the Browns.

"He's done a tremendous amount for the league, on television, on the partnership structure of the league. He was instrumental in bringing about the merger of the AFL and NFL. He's got 40 years of service to the league.

"I would think that at some point ... his entire record will be recognized as entitling him to be in the Hall of Fame."

Stars come out

A who's-who of sports celebrities watched the Ravens' 90-minute workout at the University of South Florida yesterday and then took turns addressing the AFC champions afterward.

Among the guests were Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, all-time home run king Hank Aaron (for the second straight day), former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier, former Cleveland Browns cornerback Hanford Dixon and filmmaker Spike Lee.

"The Giants are going to have John Elway talk to the team [today]," coach Brian Billick said. "That's pretty good. But we've got Jim Brown, Joe Frazier and Hank Aaron. It doesn't seem fair, but I don't care."

Brown said he wants the Ravens to win to help Modell get into the Hall of Fame.

"If each of you do what you are supposed to do, you will win this game," Brown told the players. "You are one of the most physical teams in the history of the NFL. Intimidate them with your physicality, overwhelm them with your mentality."

Lee, producing a two-hour documentary on Brown for HBO, participated in a Friday ritual with the Ravens by attempting an extra point. Billick offered to give $500 to Morehouse College if the kick was good, but Lee booted a ground ball instead.

"There was a certain physical approach that we wanted to get done this week, and we did," Billick said. "Now we need to play."

Sun staff writers Ken Murray and Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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