Modell Breaks the Huddle

One day after Megan McNeal, a strong-willed cancer patient, broke down the Ravens' huddle at practice, the Ravens received another special visitor to the field.

Minority owner Art Modell was on the field when the Ravens, forced to practice indoors because of heavy rain in Owings Mills, Md., ended their Friday session.

Modell was invited by head coach John Harbaugh to speak to the team after they ended their loose practice in preparation for the Kansas City Chiefs.

While the elder statesmen in the group – Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce, Ed Reed and Derrick Mason, to name a few examples – know of Modell's legacy, it was eye-opening for many of the younger players.

Modell was a key member of the group that worked on the NFL-AFL merger in the 1960s and an important negotiator with ABC in 1970 to launch Monday Night Football when he owned the Cleveland Browns.

"We all know what he's meant to the NFL. We all know what he's meant to this organization, and he was just telling these guys it's his 48th opener in the NFL," Harbaugh said.  "The older guys know. And you can see the guys like Todd Heap, Ed Reed and Derrick Mason right up there in front, because they've got such a great relationship with Mr. Modell.

"The young guys will have that same relationship with him as time goes on. He's a big part of the Ravens."

Modell is a constant fixture at team headquarters and still holds an office.

In April of 2004, he finalized the sale of the team to now-owner Steve Bisciotti, a Baltimore native and avid fan of Modell's and NFL history, especially of Baltimore football.

Also in attendance at practice was former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, who is serving as the analyst for the Ravens' regular-season opener.

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