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Lions issue statements on Art Modell's death

Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell died today (Thursday) at the age of 87. Here are thoughts from the Detroit Lions:

— Lions president Tom Lewand: “On behalf of the Ford Family and the entire Detroit Lions organization, we wish to extend our deepest sympathies to David, John and the entire Modell family.

“Our game is what it is today in large part due to the exemplary ownership and leadership of Art Modell.

“His work over the years with our first-ever collective bargaining agreement, numerous network TV contracts and the 1970 NFL-AFL merger helped propel the NFL to unimagined heights of popularity.

“We all are forever indebted to him.”

— Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr.: “On behalf of my wife Martha, our entire family and the Lions organization, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to David and John and everyone who knew and loved Art.

“Art was a great personal friend, and we shared many wonderful times together over the years. The game of football lost one of its’ all-time greats today. Art’s contributions to the NFL during his five decades in the game are immeasurable. I believe that Art did as much as any owner to help make the NFL what it is today. Art was a pioneer, a visionary and a selfless owner who always saw the big picture and did the right thing. Our game would not be what it is today if it weren’t for Art Modell.”

— Lions senior personnel executive James Harris who was former NFL quarterback and Ravens director of pro personnel:

“First thing that comes to my mind are the contributions Art made to the NFL: his teams, to television, to naming Ozzie (Newsome) as general manager. He was a pioneer. Working with him, you got to see what a great person he was. He cared about all of us – players, coaches, scouts, everyone in the front office. Genuine is a word I would use to describe Art. He was a special, special man. And, it’s a shame he is not in the Hall of Fame. He belongs there, and a lot of us know that.”


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