CLEVELAND — Avoiding a negative reaction and a potentially ugly scene, the Browns will honor a request by Art Modell's family and not acknowledge the former owner's death before today's season opener.
The Browns had planned an "appropriate recognition" for Modell, who died on Thursday at the age of 87. But Modell's son, David, spoke to Browns president Mike Holmgren and asked the team not do anything to recognize the late owner who remains vilified by many Cleveland fans for moving his team to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said the team will grant the family's wish.
"At the request of the Modell family, we will not be having a public recognition at the game," Gulkis said. "The final decision was made (Saturday) based upon respecting their wishes."
Any tribute for Modell could have triggered an ugly backlash by some fans in attendance. Modell was never able to return to Cleveland after he chose to move the Browns because he couldn't get city officials to build him a new stadium.
Gulkis said Saturday that the Browns had intended to have a short tribute read over the public address system before the Browns hosted the Eagles. After Modell's death, the Browns released a one-sentence statement offering their condolences to the Modell family.
The team's original decision to recognize Modell's death had brought strong reaction from some Browns fans.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league asked all its teams to honor Modell with either a moment of silence or "other appropriate gesture" at this week's games. The gregarious Modell, who owned the Browns from 1961-95, is credited with helping the league's growth in the 1960s through television contracts.
On Saturday, hundreds of Ravens fans paid their respects to Modell at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium as his casket, draped with the American flag, was placed at the 50-yard line. David Modell and his brother, John, greeted fans who came to honor their father.
CAP SPACE: The Eagles have the most salary cap space in the NFL, ProFootballTalk.com reported. Philadelphia is $21.4 million under the cap. The Bucs have the seventh-most at $13.2 million. The 49ers have the least cap space, $880,000.
JONES-DREW READY: The Jaguars activated running back Maurice Jones-Drew and waived second-year running back Keith Toston. Jacksonville had a roster exemption for Jones-Drew, who ended a 38-day holdout Sept. 2. He is expected to play in today's season opener at the Vikings.
BEARS: Running back Armando Allen was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad, and running back Lorenzo Booker went on injured reserve with a head injury.
BRONCOS: Backup quarterback Caleb Hanie was released, and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga was promoted from the practice squad. The moves mean rookie Brock Osweiler will serve as Peyton Manning's backup against the Steelers today.
COLTS: Offensive guard Joe Reitz did not travel with the team to Chicago. The backup did not practice all week after he was kicked in the knee.
RAMS: Linebacker James Laurinaitis signed a five-year contract extension through the 2017 season. The deal is worth $41.5 million, with $23.5 million guaranteed, ESPN.com reported.
SAINTS: Defensive end Will Smith, who was given a temporary reprieve from his suspension for participating in the team's bounty program, was activated and is expected to play today. The team also received roster exemptions for linebackers Barrett Ruud, a former Buc, and Jonathan Vilma.