By THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - The man still despised by some Cleveland fans for moving the old Browns to Baltimore said Thursday that he was saddened by the death of Al Lerner, who brought the team back.
Speaking for himself and his wife, Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell said he and Pat were "saddened by Al's passing. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife, Norma, son Randy, daughter Nancy and Al's grandchildren."
Modell, who has avoided public appearances in Cleveland since moving the Browns to Baltimore in 1995 and renaming them the Ravens, won't attend Lerner's funeral Friday in Cleveland, said Ravens spokeswoman Marisol McMacken Renner, who did not give a reason.
Lerner, 69, died Wednesday night at the Cleveland Clinic surrounded by family and friends, MBNA Senior Vice Chairman David Spartin told the News Journal in Wilmington, Del., where the MBNA credit-card company is based.
Lerner had been treated at the clinic in May 2001 for a brain tumor. He turned up at Browns training camp two days later and said "there's absolutely nothing wrong."
Lerner used his wealth from banking, real estate and credit-card giant MBNA Corp. to revive the Browns in 1998.
Funeral services will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at The Temple-Tifereth Israel at East 105th Street in University Circle.