Quotes around the NFL on the death of Art Modell

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BALTIMORE (AP) -- "Art Modell made extraordinary contributions to the National Football League during his decades as an NFL owner. When he stepped away from operating the Baltimore Ravens in 2004, his 43 seasons in the league represented more than half of the NFL's history." -- former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"Anytime you lose a father, a leader -- the way he was to not just his kids but to many men -- it's always hard. The greatest thing that life offers is the real opportunity to help someone. The only reason I'm in Baltimore is because of him. The only reason the Ravens have a team is because of him. The only reason a lot of sacrifices have happened throughout this league is because of him. ... He is one of the most awesome men I've ever met in my life." -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

"Our game is what it is today in large part due to the exemplary ownership and leadership of Art Modell. His work over the years with our first-ever collective bargaining agreement, numerous network TV contracts and the 1970 NFL-AFL merger helped propel the NFL to unimagined heights of popularity. We all are forever indebted to him." -- Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr.

"Art was a giant in our industry. He was my boss -- but he wouldn't let me call him that -- my mentor, and most importantly, my friend. He was the most caring, compassionate person I've ever known. The opportunities he gave me are historic, and I will be forever humble and grateful." -- Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who played for Modell and then worked for him.

"I can't remember what Monday nights were like during the fall before Monday Night Football, nor could I imagine them without football today. Football fans everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude for that alone." -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

"When you look at those most responsible for the growth and tremendous popularity of the NFL, Art Modell has to rank high on that list. The backbone of that success has been the league's relationship with network television, something Art was instrumental in shaping. Personally, when I think of Art, I will always remember his great stories and sense of humor, his generosity and civic leadership, and his passion for the game of football." -- Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill.