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Former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell dies at 87

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Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell is seen with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.AP

Former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell has died. He was 87.

The team said Modell died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he had been admitted Wednesday. A cause of death was not given.

Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns for $4 million in 1961 and moved the franchise to Baltimore in 1996. The relocation made him a hero in Baltimore but a pariah in Cleveland.

He sold a minority interest in the team to Steve Bisciotti in 2000, and in April 2004, Bisciotti completed purchase of the franchise. But Modell retained a 1 percent piece of the team and is listed in the current Ravens media guide as a minority owner.

During his days as sole owner of the team, Modell served as NFL president from 1967-69, chaired negotiations for the first collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968 and was a key figure in getting NFL games televised on Monday nights.

Modell enjoyed watching the Ravens practice, always riding in a golf cart because he had difficulty walking. But those visits became more infrequent in recent years because of his failing health.

His wife of 42 years, Patricia, died in 2011.