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Ravens Dedicate Season To Art Modell

Posted Sep 6, 2012

The Ravens will be wearing a special decal on their helmets with Art Modell’s initials.


Head Coach John Harbaugh visited Art Modell as he lay on his death bed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore last night.

Harbaugh had a special message for the former Ravens owner.

“I told him that we’re playing Monday night and that he was going to be there watching the game and we’re going to fight for him. And that we’re going to play our best football for Art Modell.”

With that, Harbaugh got his biggest response from Modell.

“Those eyes, those blue eyes were going right at me like, ‘You better, that’s what I expect,’” Harbaugh said. “I could only think to myself, ‘Yes, sir.’”

The Ravens always have a lot to play for, plenty of motivation. With the passing of Modell early Thursday morning, they have that much more.

“This season we will definitely dedicate to him and give it everything we got,” linebacker Ray Lewis said.

An iconic image in Ravens history is that of Modell and Lewis hugging on the Tampa Bay field as confetti poured down around them. Lewis said his fondest memory of Modell is from those celebrations, when he delivered the Lombardi trophy to his owner and watched him attempt Lewis’ signature dance.

“Hopefully, we can sit another Lombardi Trophy beside him,” Lewis said.

“When you think about Art, what other kind of motivation do you need? If you know anything about him, if you know anything about what he did to this league and what he meant to this organization, why wouldn’t you go play for something that special? Because he is watching. He’ll always be watching.”

The motivation will likely build for the Ravens over the next four days.

That’s when Baltimore will open the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football, a massive television production that Modell himself pioneered in 1970.

Harbaugh called it an amazing twist, providential irony. “Maybe they’re laughing about that up there right now,” he said.

There will be a tribute for Modell before Monday’s game. The Ravens will wear decals with the abbreviation “ABM” on their helmets all season.

But will all the Ravens players understand the true meaning of Modell’s death, and realize the significance of Monday night’s game?

Lewis has been with Modell since the franchise’s inception in 1996. He, safety Ed Reed and linebacker Terrell Suggs are the only players still remaining from Modell’s days as owner.

They tried to explain the importance of Modell to their younger teammates Thursday. Harbaugh encouraged players to do their research.

“I think Ray and some of the guys that have been around him will get the message across to a lot of the players on this team,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “I just think that this whole organization had a lot of love for him, and I think that will definitely show.”

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