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CANTON -- At the hall where legends live, the death of Art Modell darkened the day.

"It's a sad time for the NFL losing a great guy like that," said Cory Gansel, a Browns fan visiting from Akron.

"Art was always a part of building the NFL with a philosophy of league think," said Joe Horrigan, vice president for communications for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "He was always putting the league in front of his own interests, in front of his team's interests. What was good for the league, was good for the Cleveland Browns, was good for Pro Football."

Modell's fingerprints are all over the game: his influence on the league and television, Monday Night Football and the careers of dozens of Hall of Famers.

But it's the dark years in the 1990s that Cleveland Browns fans remember most.

"The common fan, the guy and the gal you find in the Dawg Pound, I don't know how sad they are," said Bill Morgan, sports director for 1450 WJER Radio out of Dover. WJER, a Browns affiliate, followed through on a previously scheduled plan to broadcast live from the Hall of Fame Thursday.

"That is the one scar that is difficult to heal, but time hopefully will soften that wound," said Horrigan.

In pro football history, Modell's is not the only move of its kind, but perhaps the most painful.

When Modell took the Browns to Baltimore, this friend of the Pro Football Hall of Fame took burned his own candidacy.

"He made a very very tough, unpopular decision when he moved the team," said Horrigan. "But there was so much more to the man, so much more to his history and legacy."

Does he deserve the Hall of Fame? Some say yes.

"I think eventually he'll be here. When it is, I don't know. But I think eventually that time is coming," said Morgan.

"I think it might take five years, but what he did with the Browns, and founding the Browns, all that history will probably put him in," said Joseph Ruh, a Steelers fan visiting from Washington state.

Horrigan says it's hard to speculate.

"Our selectors are charged with the very difficult task of judging candidates based solely upon their contribution as a player, coach or contributor, to the game. So with his passing, I don't think that that will factor in. It shouldn't," said Horrigan. "It should really only be based on the contributions, which are substantial enough that he does get support."

"As time moves forward, [the move to Baltimore] will be looked at, and it will be looked at carefully, in the context of all of the other things he did for Pro Football."

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