Modell: 'I didn't want to go to Baltimore'

Sore feelings over Art Modell's move of the Cleveland Browns 10 years ago were renewed when he told a radio interviewer that community leaders reneged on an offer to provide financial help.

"I didn't want to go to Baltimore," Modell said Thursday evening in a telephone interview with WTAM. Community leaders had offered to help but "they lied to me," Modell said.

U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, a former Cleveland mayor who was Ohio governor when the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, said it was Modell who hadn't been honest.

As a result, Voinovich told the station, the community doesn't feel it can trust Modell. "That's why he hasn't come back here," Voinovich said.

Modell said a leading politician suggested that he move the Browns because no financial help would be forthcoming.

Voinovich said he never advised Modell to move the team.

Modell, who has avoided Cleveland since moving the Browns, has said over the years that financial considerations and the deteriorating condition of Cleveland Municipal Stadium forced his surprise decision to move the team.

The city's threat of legal action against the National Football League ended when the NFL awarded the city an expansion Browns franchise that plays in a new stadium.

Modell said he understood at the time that moving the team would jeopardize his chance of election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Voinovich called the station after hearing Modell's broadcast comments, Voinovich aide Marcie Ridgway said Friday.