- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW ORLEANS -- Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti feels confident that offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden will get voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. But he's unsure about the chances of Art Modell, which is why he stated his case for the former owner Thursday.
"I do think he’s the most accomplished person in the history of the NFL that is not in," Bisciotti said. "If the one reason for them not giving him the votes is because he moved the team, then I wish that they would at least acknowledge that though it was gut-wrenching for the Cleveland fans, it’s a part of the business. It’s been done many times in the NFL."
According to CBS Sports, there are four owners in the Hall of Fame who have moved their franchises: Dan Reeves (Rams), Al Davis (Raiders), Lamar Hunt (Chiefs) and George Preston Marshall (Redskins).
"I don't think it should keep Art out," Bisciotti said. "I know he broke some hearts in Cleveland, but nobody knows all the details or knows the story. The animosity that Baltimore shows to the Irsays is something that I lived through and can understand. So I'm not asking Cleveland to understand. I'm not even asking Cleveland to forgive. I just know that Cleveland's rabid fans should not 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."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh has another measuring stick for why Modell should reach the Hall.
"The National Football League wouldn’t be the same. Isn’t that the measurement? How much better they made our game and the National Football League?," he said. "By any measurement, it wouldn’t be the same and it wouldn’t be as good as it is right now. He changed football. He changed the way that it was perceived. He helped make it the popular game that it is today. He had a vision that very few people had in his time."
Harbaugh added, "There’s no question he belongs there, there’s no question he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame. Why wait? Let’s just do it right now. Let’s do the right thing.”
2hEric D. Williams