Snyder takes shot at Modell `model'

Redskins owner's remarks about counterpart draw swift reaction from Ravens

August 18, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Ravens officials are angered over this week's issue of Newsweek in which Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder criticized the reputation of Ravens owner Art Modell.

When asked if there was an owner he modeled himself after, like Modell or the Patriots' Bob Kraft, both of whom have recently won Super Bowls, Snyder told Newsweek, "What model is Art Modell? He owned the team 42 years and won one Super Bowl. The Patriots have proven that when a team is healthy and has chemistry, it can do great things. I now firmly believe the coach is where everything starts."

Modell did not attend yesterday's practice at McDaniel College in Westminster, but the Ravens were quick to defend their owner and his mark of 27 winning seasons in 41 years. They were astounded that such harsh remarks about success came from Snyder, who has one winning season in three years as owner.

"It would be one thing if Art's winning record was being criticized by [former Redskins coach] Joe Gibbs or [Giants owner] Wellington Mara," said David Modell, Art's son and team president. "But it's not."

There has been a growing rivalry between the two organizations whose home stadiums are separated by about 40 miles. The teams have clashed over promoting in each other's market and the Redskins' big-money hiring of defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis away from the Ravens. But this is believed to be the first time that the feud has gotten personal.

"I don't believe that's an accurate quote because I can't believe anyone of that position could not recognize the contributions over 42 years that Art Modell has made to this league," said Ravens coach Brian Billick.

Billick also pointed out that Modell has won two NFL championships, with the Ravens capturing Super Bowl XXXV and the Cleveland Browns claiming the 1964 NFL title.

"That's two more championships than he [Snyder] has," Billick said. "That's why I believe somehow there's got to be a mistake or a misquote there."

Other Ravens officials, however, see the remarks as status quo for Snyder.

"Working with Art, we understand what first class and respect are all about," said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' vice president of public and community relations. "Living near Washington, we see the other end of the spectrum."

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