The statements were very complementary of Modell, who was reviled in Cleveland after he moved the Browns out of the city and took them to Baltimore. Modell would be vindicated when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001, but Browns fans continued to despise him.
Ford said Modell's contributions to the NFL "during his five decades in the game are immeasurable."
Lions president Tom Lewand mentioned Modell's contributions with regard to the AFL-NFL merger and TV exposure the league has received, which is at an all-time high.
And then there was senior personnel executive James Harris, who worked for Modell in Baltimore as the team's director of pro personnel:
"Genuine is a word I would use to describe Art. He was a special, special man," Harris said. "And, it's a shame he is not in the Hall of Fame. He belongs there, and a lot of us know that."