Browns fans brace as Modell up for Hall of Fame
All of the finalists have impressive resumes. Parcells was the first coach to lead four teams to the playoffs. He went 183-138-1 and won two Super Bowls with the Giants. DeBartolo hired coach Bill Walsh, drafted quarterback Joe Montana and transformed the 49ers into a model franchise that won five Super Bowls.
A seven-time Pro Bowler, Strahan recorded 22½ sacks in 2001 and finished with 141½ in a 15-year career with the Giants; Ogden, the first player drafted by the Ravens, made 11 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons; Allen played every offensive line position but center during 12 seasons with Dallas. He opened holes for Emmitt Smith, the league's career rushing leader; and Sapp had 96½ career sacks, a remarkable number for an interior lineman.
Bettis finished with 13,662 career rushing yards in 13 seasons for the Rams and Steelers; Carter retired with the second-most career receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130); Brown, a nine-time Pro Bowler, recorded 14,934 yards receiving and 100 TDs; and Reed had 951 career catches, and played in four consecutive Super Bowls with Buffalo.
Tough to block as a defensive end or linebacker, Haley is the only player to win five Super Bowls; Greene reached double digits in sacks 10 times for the Rams, Steelers and Panthers; Shields never missed a game in a 14-season career with the Chiefs, who won four AFC West titles with him up front; Williams made the Pro Bowl as a cornerback and safety, finishing with 55 career interceptions; Culp was mainstay for Chiefs' dominating defense before helping the Oilers reach consecutive AFC title games (1978-79); and Robinson was a big-play starter on three straight Packers' title teams under Vince Lombardi.
As for Modell, his critics point to him uprooting one of the league's cornerstone teams as indisputable evidence he doesn't belong in the hall.
"It overshadows all his accomplishments," said Tony Grossi, a selection committee voter since 1999. "It can't be dismissed."
As one of those who will help elect Canton's class of 2013, Grossi, who has covered the Browns since 1984, feels a responsibility to state the case against Modell. He will speak once Modell is presented for consideration by a representative from Baltimore's market.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti understands Cleveland's pain. He witnessed Baltimore fans rebel when the Colts went to Indianapolis, so he can relate.
He just hopes Modell gets his due.
"I'm not even asking Cleveland to forgive," he said. "I just don't know that Cleveland's rabid fans should be the reason that they keep him out. Because it seems like a spite thing and not a legitimate 'let's look at the resume thing' and that's really what I hope changes this year."
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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