Colts still in name game? Modell will pursue issue with Irsays; THE NFL RETURNS TO BALTIMORE


CHICAGO -- Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell has not given up his quest to return the Colts name to Baltimore.

Although Indianapolis Colts general manager Jim Irsay said Thursday that his family would not return the name to Baltimore's new NFL team, Modell said there is a chance Irsay might relinquish the name.

Modell said he approached Irsay last month about acquiring the name.

"I told him I was leaving the Browns name, colors and records in Cleveland," said Modell. "I told him since I was leaving the legacy there, it would be nice to restore the tradition in Baltimore. He said he didn't know the certainty of the name as far as the family estate, trusts, and the league.

"He said he felt it was highly improbable," Modell added. "He didn't shut the door, but he didn't open it, either. Right now, I have my foot stuck in it."

Browns officials will begin the search for a new name as early as Monday, said David Modell, a team vice president.

David Modell said he will use the results of a survey from The Sun during Baltimore's 1993 expansion bid, when names like Ravens, Bays, Bombers and Rhinos were big winners.

"We'll use the results of that survey to see what the community was thinking then, then use professionals and their analysis of what would appeal to the present community and what would be meaningful to the community," said David Modell. "Then we'll use public participation, either through the newspaper or television, to come up with a nickname. Call it spontaneous generation."

David Modell has practically ruled out Bombers, which was suggested by potential owner Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass during the expansion derby.

"That was before the bombing of the World Trade Center and the bombing in Oklahoma City," said David Modell. "I think that might be inappropriate and insensitive."

1993 name survey

The top 10 NFL nicknames from a poll conducted by The Sun during the NFL expansion process in 1993. There were 21,626 responses over a one-week period, and the results were published Aug. 27, 1993:

Name .. .. .. .. ..Votes .. .. ..%

Ravens .. .. .. ...6,367 .. .. .29

Bombers .. .. .. ..1,953 .. .. ..9

Bays .. .. .. .. ..1,707 .. .. ..8

Rhinos .. .. .. ...1,676 .. .. ..8

Cobras .. .. .. ...1,035 .. .. ..5

Stallions .. .. .. ..599 .. .. ..3

Hons .. .. .. .. .. .477 .. .. ..2

Banners .. .. .. .. .384 .. .. ..2

Mustangs .. .. .. ...281 .. .. ..1

Note: Colts drew 143 votes, and derivatives Bolts and Colts II accounted for 97 more.

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