Modell being considered for Hall of Fame election

Owner says he's `flattered' to be one of 15 finalists

January 18, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ravens owner Art Modell is one of 15 finalists considered for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2002.

The finalists were determined by a 38-member Board of Selectors from a preliminary group of players, coaches and contributors. The selectors will meet in New Orleans Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, to elect the class. No fewer than four and no more than seven can be inducted.

"I feel better being 1 out of 15 than 1 out of 60," Modell said. "It is as simple as that.

"I'm flattered, I'm humbled, I'm grateful. I feel very good that I got this far. If it goes further, then it will be added sugar to the whole thing. Hopefully, it will complete my cycle in football."

Former players include linebacker Harry Carson, tight end Dave Casper, defensive end L.C. Greenwood, punter Ray Guy, defensive lineman Dan Hampton, defensive backs Lester Hayes and Donnie Shell, quarterback Jim Kelly, offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg and receivers Art Monk, James Lofton and John Stallworth.

The coaches are Bill Parcells and George Allen, who is the recommended nominee of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. Parcells, being considered for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching job, would not be eligible if he returned to the sidelines.

Modell won his first Super Bowl last season and has another NFL championship as owner of the Cleveland Browns in 1964. Modell purchased the Browns in 1961 and moved his franchise to Baltimore in 1996.

Such a move of one of the NFL's storied franchises is probably the primary reason why Modell is a finalist for the first time.

"I sensed that some of the strong feelings may have abated somewhat in Ohio, I hope," Modell said. "I'll say this; I get a thrill every time I see those uniforms of seal brown and burnt orange, the same colors we had, and the legacy and the memorabilia and records are still there. I'm happy for the people in Cleveland. They deserve it."

Modell is the only elected NFL president in league history (1967-69). He chaired the negotiations for the first collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968. He was also chairman of the NFL Television Committee for 31 years and a major participant in the negotiations to start Monday Night Football.

"I would have to think it's a combination of two factors that contributed significantly to the position the league now enjoys in this country," Modell said. "No. 1, is the years of negotiating TV contracts. ... But more importantly was the revenue sharing that [former NFL commissioner] Pete [Rozelle] and I worked on."

Modell has tentatively selected his son, David, as his presenter if he is inducted.

"We're obviously very proud of him," said David Modell, the Ravens' president and chief operating officer. "He isn't just my employer, he's my father. We know that he deserves it. He should have been in the Hall of Fame, and [we] look forward to when he is.

"He's obviously pleased. He's not the kind of guy that wears the appreciation for that type of thing on his sleeve. But I know that he has to feel very proud of that. Here's a guy who worked to support his family when he was 15 because his father died."

Said Art Modell: "I was there at the groundbreaking for the Hall in 1962; my colleagues and friends, most of them are inducted, which gave me great pleasure. ... I'm just very happy that at least I'm included in that grouping."

Finalists

Class of 2002

(x-first year eligible; y-seniors' nominee)

Election is Feb. 2

y-George Allen, coach, 1966-1970 L.A. Rams, 1971-1977 Washington Redskins

Harry Carson, linebacker, 1976-1988 N.Y. Giants

Dave Casper, tight end, 1974-1980 Oakland Raiders, 1980-1983 Houston Oilers, 1983 Minnesota Vikings, 1984 L.A. Raiders

L.C. Greenwood, defensive end, 1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers

Ray Guy, punter, 1973-1986 Oakland/L.A. Raiders

Dan Hampton, defensive end/defensive tackle, 1979-1990 Chicago Bears

Lester Hayes, cornerback, 1977-1986 Oakland/L.A. Raiders

x-Jim Kelly, quarterback, 1986-1996 Buffalo Bills

Bob Kuechenberg, guard, 1970-1983 Miami Dolphins

James Lofton, wide receiver, 1978-1986 Green Bay Packers, 1987-1988 Los Angeles Raiders, 1989-1992 Buffalo Bills, 1993 L.A. Rams, 1993 Philadelphia Eagles

Art Modell, contributor, 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-present Ravens

Art Monk, wide receiver, 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 N.Y. Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles

Bill Parcells, coach, 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-1996 New England Patriots, 1997-1999 N.Y. Jets

Donnie Shell, safety, 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers

John Stallworth, wide receiver, 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers

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