BALTIMORE – 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.