Bisciotti to take control of Ravens

The impending changing of the guard for the Baltimore Ravens involves the logistics of current minority owner Steve Bisciotti purchasing majority ownership from Art Modell. Modell, 78, indicated that Bisciotti, 43, will exercise his option at the beginning of October to obtain the remainder of the franchise for $325 million. This will be Modell's final season after four decades of primary ownership.

"I have no information to the contrary and I'm positive that Steve will exercise his option," Modell said. "He's got a period of time to study the records, do his due diligence and then buy the team.

"What I intend to do is help him in any way that I can, stay on, take care of him as long as he wants me on the scene. I'm considering staying on as a minority owner. My legacy will be a successful Bisciotti."

An Anne Arundel County businessman and a influential supporter of University of Maryland athletics, Bisciotti purchased 49 percent of the club in 1999 for $275 million. It was a deal that helped Modell recoup the debt incurred in moving the club from Cleveland and gave Bisciotti an option to buy the team between 2004 and 2006.

That means Modell will earn roughly $600 million on his original investment on the Cleveland Browns on March 21, 1961 when he was age 35 and living with his mother in Brooklyn, N.Y. The original purchase price has been mentioned in published reports ranging from $3.93 million to $4.295 million.

Bisciotti founded Aerotek, which is now called the Allegis Group, in 1983 and built it into a national technical staffing firm. He has regularly attended NFL owners meetings and practices to familiarize himself with the inner workings of the league.

"Steve Bisciotti is a good man and I think he's going to be an excellent owner," Modell said of the Salisbury State graduate and Millersville resident. "He's got passion and he's got enthusiasm for the game."

Modell anticipates a smooth transition, one that will involve him occupying an office next door to Bisciotti at the Ravens' new training complex under in Owings Mills as he contemplates whether to retain a minority share.

"I don't want to crowd the man," Modell said. "He paid a good price to come into this business. I will stand ready to help in any way that I can."

With coach Brian Billick and general manager Ozzie Newsome already signed to contract extensions, little, if anything, is expected to change about the Ravens' football operations.

Bisciotti hasn't made many public pronouncements about his intentions, preferring to stay behind the scenes and not steal Modell's spotlight.

"I would be shocked if he saw fit to change anyone," Modell said. "It took years to build this organization. In Ozzie Newsome, I have the best personnel man in the business. Phil Savage is the best college scout. "It's unfathomable that Steve would release anyone from their duties. If he has a different view of things, he should bring it to my attention."

In the Ravens' media guide from last season, Bisciotti was quoted as saying, "The more time I spend with other members of the organization, I see firsthand why this franchise succeeds. Being part of a Baltimore NFL franchise is a dream come true for me in many ways."

The Ravens are also in sound salary-cap shape and will be able to compete in free agency next offseason as well as employ the franchise tag, if necessary, to retain talent such as cornerback Chris McAlister.

"Art is leaving the franchise in very solid shape after paying that salary-cap price after the Super Bowl win," New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi said. "He has hired great football people in Ozzie Newsome and Phil Savage. Art is a great leader who hired those people. The Ravens are strong again."

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