From Comcast SportsNetBALTIMORE (AP) -- Thousands of family and friends turned out Tuesday for the funeral of former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell, including current and former players, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.An important figure in the development of the league, Modell also was one of the NFL's most polarizing owners. Cleveland fans never forgave him from moving his club to Baltimore for financial reasons after the 1995 season, but Ravens fans were fond of him and Modell also was remembered as a loving family man on Tuesday.Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Haloti Ngata and Torrey Smith were among current Ravens players who attended the service at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. Former Ravens players Michael McCrary, Peter Boulware and Rob Burnett also went to pay their respects."He contributed so much to the NFL," Goodell said. "He was obviously a close adviser to (former NFL commissioner) Pete Rozelle. He was a big part of NFL history. He played a big role in the NFL and the NFL is going to miss him."Lewis, Baltimore's second pick in the 1996 draft after Modell moved the franchise, gave a eulogy filled with emotion."Rest in peace Pop Art,'" he said.Goodell and Modell's sons, John Modell and David Modell, also spoke during the service. John Modell followed his speech by performing a song he wrote on the guitar for his father in 1998, when the Ravens built their facility, which is now known as M&T Bank Stadium."He loved the game," John Modell said. "He loved the men who played the game. He loved football."Toward the end of the 90-minute service, Modell's pallbearers, which included Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne, carried his casket to a hearse sitting in front of the synagogue.Modell's funeral came the morning after the Ravens defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 44-13 in Baltimore. The team paid tribute to Modell by wearing commemorative T-shirts during pre-game warmups and in the locker room after the game ended."If Mr. Modell (didn't) bring the team to Baltimore, it doesn't happen for us," Ravens safety Ed Reed said following the game. "This city here loves football, too, and Mr. Modell saw that in this city, and he made us all Ravens. We're all grateful just to be here."Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns in 1961 for 4 million, an unheard of amount at the time. He won an NFL championship with the Browns in 1964 -- over the Baltimore Colts -- and those early Cleveland teams later appeared in the 1965, 1968 and 1969 title games. The Browns also reached the AFC championship in the 1986, 1987 and 1989 seasons but fell short to the Denver Broncos each time.Modell was a member of the NFL's television committee for 31 years and helped launch Monday Night Football. He served on the NFL-AFL merger committee and helped negotiate the NFL's first collective bargaining agreement as the chairman of the owners' labor committee.But it was Modell's decision in 1995 that made him a villain in the northeast Ohio. Facing a financial burden, Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore instead of selling the organization and keeping it in Cleveland.Fans in Cleveland still bear a grudge, though the Browns kept their history and received an expansion team three years later. In 2000, the Ravens won Modell his first Super Bowl title.Modell was never voted into the NFL Hall of Fame, which has been a debatable issue for many years.Though Goodell commended Modell's accomplishments as an NFL owner, he said he wouldn't judge whether he should be in or not."That's for others to make that decision," Goodell said. "I think his contributions are extraordinary. I don't want to take positions on that."
Friday's trade with the Colorado Avalanche seemed to mark the end of Brooks Orpik's time with the Washington Capitals. But that may not actually be the case.
Trading away Orpik also meant trading away his $5.5 million cap hit. That is not an insignificant amount of money especially for a team trying to re-sign defenseman John Carlson to a big-money contract.
But Orpik will not be playing out the final year of his contract in Colorado. The Avalanche placed Orpik on unconditional waivers Saturday for the purpose of a buyout, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
So why would Colorado agree to take Orpik just to buy him out and take on dead cap space? Because by acquiring him, it lowered the cost of the Grubauer trade.
COL is going to see if it can help Orpik land in a preferred spot. Whether it is a trade or a buyout, they are prepared to facilitate. By including him in the deal, they only had to give up one pick.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 22, 2018
What this means for Brooks Orpik is that he will become a free agent, free to sign with anyone for the upcoming season. Including Washington.
For a 37-year-old defenseman who does not boast great mobility or speed, a $5.5 million cap hit was a bit too steep for the Caps who were very close to the cap ceiling last season and who need that extra money to re-sign their free agents. But the team did value Orpik's leadership and that could be especially important as young defensemen Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos continue developing plus prospects Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs all try to work themselves into contention for a spot on the NHL roster.
If Orpik does return, it will be a masterstroke for general manager Brian MacLellan. MacLellan freed up a lot of cap space to re-sign Carlson without having to buy out Orpik's contract, but could still possibly keep him on the roster at a much-reduced cost.
After a strong playoff performance, there may be other teams vying for Orpik's services next season. Getting traded to get bought out likely isn't a good feeling, but considering he just won a Stanley Cup in Washington, the defensive guru Todd Reirden is expected to be promoted to head coach and that re-signing with the Caps would mean not moving his family for what could very possibly and will very likely be the last contract of his NHL career, there are a lot of reasons why it would make sense for both the team and the player if Orpik stayed with the Caps.
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Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 24, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The heat is on Jay Gruden
Jay Gruden knows that his Redskins need to win in 2018.
“This isn’t a two- or three-year process,” he said last week. “This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.”
Jay Gruden gave this answer to a question about Alex Smith, but his words should resonate with the whole team. He’s right. This is no longer a rebuilding team. It’s time for this team to get it together and make a playoff run.
That puts the pressure on Gruden.
This is his fifth year as coach of the Redskins. He is well beyond the point where he can credibly point a finger of blame at his predecessor for any problems that are lingering. Only five players who were around in 2013, Mike Shanahan’s last year in Washington. It’s Gruden’s show now.
His tenure is now the longest for a Redskins head coach since Norv Turner made it nearly seven years, from 1994 through 13 games into the 2000 season. His 49-59-1 run with the Redskins spanned three owners in Jack Kent Cooke, John Kent Cooke, and Dan Snyder.
It should be noted that Turner’s third and fourth years at the helm closely resembled Gruden’s past two years. Turner’s team went 9-7 in 1996 and 8-7-1 the next year, narrowly missing the playoffs both years. That looks a lot like Gruden’s 8-7-1 and 7-9 records over the past two years.
Gruden does not want this year’s team to resemble the 1998 Redskins. Turner’s fifth team started out 0-7 before winning four of their last five to finish 6-10.
Turner kept his job in part because of the team’s uncertain ownership situation after the elder Cooke passed away in 1997. Gruden will not have a similar set of circumstances to help him out if he needs a lifeline in January.
Gruden wants his fifth year to turn out more like Turner’s sixth season. That team went 10-6, topped the NFC East standings and won a playoff game.
To get there, he needs a lot of his decisions to go right. While the trade for Smith was not his call, every indication is that he was on board with it.
Last year, it was his decision to say no, thanks to Wade Phillips, who wanted to be his defensive coordinator and promote Greg Manusky into the job. The results were mixed as the Redskins were sixth in pass defense DVOA but 29thagainst the run. It was viewed as a marginal improvement on defense but the unit still seeme to be more of a liability than an asset.
This year, the Redskins re-signed inside linebackers Zach Brown and Mason Foster and added defensive lineman Daron Payne with their first-round pick after spending their first-round pick on DE Jonathan Allen in 2017. There will be no excuses for Manusky and, by extension, Gruden if the defense does not improve.
Joe Barry, Manusky’s predecessor who also was hired by Gruden when Phillips was an option, was out after two years of failing to significantly improve the defense. Any reasonable analysis would have to conclude that Barry did not get an infusion of talent anywhere approaching what Manusky has received in his two seasons. Manusky is getting a second year but he probably won’t get a third if the defense is still considered to be an impediment to the team’s progress.
And if Manusky has to go, you have to wonder if Gruden will get a chance to hire a third defensive coordinator.
I’m not sure if there is a certain number of games that the Redskins have to win for Gruden to return in 2019. It feels like he would not survive a 6-10 season or maybe not even another 7-9 finish. On the other end of the spectrum, making the playoffs and winning a game when they get there would certainly punch his ticket for a sixth season.
Anything in between would leave Gruden in some jeopardy and the call would come down to the vague “moving in the right direction” criteria.
There are some holes on this team, to be sure. But every team has some and the ones that are well coached figure out how to overcome them. The pressure will be on Gruden to best utilize their strengths and minimize any damage brought about by the weaker points.
From his statement, it’s apparent that he is well aware of that.
Tandler on Twitter
I put out a tweet correcting the Super Bowl ring count to two.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 32
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 60
The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 77 days.
In case you missed it
- The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor
- Will a 1,000-yard receiver make or break the 2018 Redskins?
- Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down