Modell was asked two weeks ago if an anticipated hostile reception would play a part in his decision to attend tomorrow's game against the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium.
"Pittsburgh was hostile long before we moved from Cleveland," Modell said. "It was always a frightening adventure to go down there. It's a hard-drinking, menacing crowd. It's been ugly for over 30 years going there."
But yesterday Modell said the issue was overblown.
"I'm not about to provide fuel for a bulletin board," he said. "All home crowds are menacing. They don't sit on their hands. I compare the people in Pittsburgh to the fans in Cleveland or Denver, or Baltimore. Pittsburgh fans are no more menacing than Browns fans were when they [Steelers] would come to Cleveland.
"I'd rank Pittsburgh No. 1, Denver No. 2, Kansas City No. 3 and on down the line. They all have intimidating levels of noise. All road crowds are tough. You don't have to be a genius to figure that one out."
Modell said he will find out today from his doctor whether he is fit enough to travel to Pittsburgh. As of last night, he sounded as if he would stay home.
And that's just fine with Pittsburghers.
"Good," said Steelers tight end Jonathan Hayes, a native of the city's Bridgeville suburb. "Let him stay home."
Angelo Lamatric, owner of the Clark Bar & Grill across from the stadium, said: "Now, you think it's safe for Art to come? Not if Cleveland fans see him . . .
"Oh, there'll be a lot of Cleveland people here," Hayes added. "I'm sure of that."
Joe Chiodo, owner of Chiodo's Tavern and a Steelers season-ticket holder for 45 years, summed up the city's feelings.
"I'll tell you what you can tell Art Modell," he said. "You can clean manure. You can scrub manure. But he still comes out manure."
Ravens (1-0) vs. Steelers (0-1)
Site: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh
Time: 1 p.m.
TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WLIF (101.9 FM), WJFK (1300 AM)
Line: Steelers by 4
.. .. .. .. .. Time/
Date Opponent Results
Sept. 1 Oakland W, 19-14
Sept. 8 at Pittsburgh 1 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Houston 1 p.m.
Sept. 22 Bye week
Sept. 29 New Orleans 1 p.m.
Oct. 6 New England 1 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Indianapolis 8 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Denver 4 p.m.
Oct. 27 St. Louis 1 p.m.
Nov. 3 Cincinnati 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Jacksonville 4 p.m.
Nov. 17 at San Fran. 4 p.m.
Nov. 24 Jacksonville 1 p.m.
Dec. 1 Pittsburgh 1 p.m.
Dec. 8 at Cincinnati 1 p.m.
Dec. 15 at Carolina 1 p.m.
Dec. 22 Houston 1 p.m.
Pub Date: 9/07/96