BALTIMORE (WJZ)– David Modell, who served as president of the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2004, passed away early Friday afternoon after battling cancer for almost two years.

From the selection of the team name and colors, to the move to M&T Bank Stadium in 1998, to the hiring of Brian Billick, David coordinated the efforts as team president.

General Manager and Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome:

“This is so hard for me, and words almost escape from me at this sad time. I’ve known David since 1978 and, in many ways, we became like brothers. We both grew up with the Browns and became Ravens together. We shared thoughts beyond the business of football. Life, family, children, politics, religion – we touched it all. You can trace much of the good of this franchise back to David. His passing shakes me. My deepest prayers go to Michel and the children.”

Modell also appeared weekly with syndicated radio host Armstrong Williams, while helping his wife Michel, an accomplished artist, raise their two-year-old twins, daughter “Fee” and son “Bertie.” From his first marriage, David is the father of daughters, Breslin and Collier, and sons, Arthur and David Jr.

“Our number one goal is to win. This oversimplification cannot be re-stated often enough. It shapes every decision and action this organization takes,” Modell said early in his tenure. “I don’t want us just to be the best football team. We aspire to be the best business organization. We want to set the standard on and off the field.”

David almost predicted the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory. In an interview with NFL Films in the spring of 1999, Modell said: “How cool will it be to wake up in my house with the Super Bowl trophy next to my bed for a night? How cool will it be for others within the Ravens to do the same? How cool will it be for our fans to have that trophy in Baltimore?”

Former Ravens LB Ray Lewis:

“We have lost an incredible man, and incredible father, brother and son. I was fortunate to speak to David yesterday and was able to let him know how much I love him and tell him he was one of the greatest men I have ever known. His father was like a father to me, and David was like a brother. He had a way of making everyone around him feel special, which was such a gift. I feel truly blessed to have known him, and I will miss my brother greatly. We know losing him will be hard for Michel and the kids, but they know we are all family, and they have many uncles, like me, to rely on. We can never replace David, but we will do everything we can to give them a helping hand whenever they need anything. Rest well, David, you are home.”

Both the Baltimore Magazine and Baltimore Business Journal saluted Modell. Baltimore Magazine picked him as one of “40 Leaders Under 40” in May of 2001, and he was selected by the Baltimore Business Journal (January of 2000) as one of “40 Under 40” leaders who help the Baltimore industry and the community in general. He received the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland’s “Outstanding Achievement Award” in the fall of 2001.

When the team arrived in Baltimore in 1996, David coordinated a fan vote through The Baltimore Sun to select the team nickname – the Ravens. In 1999, David once again involved the fans in the vote for a new Ravens’ logo.

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