NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Ravens fans less than a month ago that they should continue insisting to the media that former Ravens Owner Art Modell should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Fans may have a new member they can lobby to – a name other than The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi.
Grossi, a writer who has covered the Browns for more than two decades, is widely known as the man helping to block Modell’s bid.
But Grossi was recently removed from the Browns beat after sending an accidental tweet bashing Cleveland Owner Randy Lerner. He was thus also taken off the 44-member Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
Asked two years ago why he reportedly made a passionate speech in 2001 against Modell, Grossi told BaltimoreRavens.com, “It was my responsibility as the representative of Cleveland to do that because it’s been made clearly aware to me that the fans of the Browns do not want this man in the Hall of Fame.”
Grossi’s co-worker, Mary Kay Cabot, replaced Grossi as an “alternate” for the final Hall of Fame vote this year.
It’s unknown how Cabot views Modell, but she has also been at the Plain Dealer for more than a two decades. A Cleveland blog this past week went out to Cabot, urging her to continue to the fight against Modell.
Cabot did not respond to an email request for an interview.
According to the Plain Dealer’s sports editor, Roy Hewitt, it’s unknown whether Cabot will continue as Cleveland’s representative. That decision is made by the Hall of Fame and Vice President-Communications/Exhibits Joe Horrigan.
For the second straight year, and third time in the past nine years, Modell did not reach the semifinalist round of voting. He was last a finalist in 2001.
“It’s not a true Hall of Fame until they put Art into it,” Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti has said. “You can’t write the history of the NFL without mentioning Art.”
The NFL Commissioner agrees that Modell should be honored.
Before the Ravens’ divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans, Goodell was asked by fans for his thoughts on Modell’s chances of getting into the Hall of Fame and what fans can do to help.
“It’s hard to imagine the contributions he made won’t be recognized someday,” Goodell said. “You just hope it will be sooner rather than later.”
Modell, 86, has had health issues, yet continues to make occasional trips to the team’s facility in Owings Mills, Md., to meet with players, coaches and executives.
“The more you can talk about the fact that you think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, make that point to the media, the more they will see that there is a lot of support for that,” Goodell said.
Fans can find Cabot on https://twitter.com/#!/MaryKayCabot.