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Politicians hurried to praise Ravens’ Modell

It didn’t take long Thursday for Maryland politicians to weigh in on the occasion of original Ravens owner Art Modell’s death at age 87.

And they all, basically, followed the same script.

Gov. Martin O’Malley was especially quick on the draw, having his press office fire of a statement at 8:06 a.m., shortly after news of Modell’s passing at Johns Hopkins Hospital broke.

“Baltimore and the state of Maryland mourn the loss today of former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell,” O’Malley said in the statement. “Respected by his players and beloved by his family and Baltimore football fans, Art brought the game and spirit of football back to Baltimore.

“He helped reinvigorate Baltimoreans’ sense of pride in their team and their city. As we prepare for another exciting season of Ravens football and Purple Fridays, let us all take a moment to remember Art and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, in the midst of a race to keep his seat in Congress, was next, saying much of the same:

“Art Modell was a visionary leader of the NFL who brought his franchise to Baltimore where they made history as the Ravens,” Cardin said. “Our city and state benefited from Art Modell’s determination and leadership. Art and his wife, Pat, made Baltimore their home where they also became philanthropic leaders. Our community is better because of their commitment and devotion to making a difference. I join all Baltimoreans and Marylanders in mourning the loss of this sports giant.”

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2014, chimed in Thursday afternoon.

“It is with great sadness that I, along with everyone throughout the region, mourn the loss of Art Modell,” Ulman said. “And while Mr. Modell deserves honors as a pioneer and icon in the world of  professional football, we are also reminded of how much he and his wife, Pat, embraced the Baltimore community with their charitable ways on behalf of disadvantaged youths, local hospitals and the performing arts — traditions they carried with them from Cleveland.

“For this community spirit, for reviving Baltimore as a football town and for enriching the lives of those he touched with values and humor, we can only say, thank you. The Modell family has our sympathies during this difficult time.”

The Ravens are holding a “silent tribute” and viewing Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., where Modell’s casket and the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV win will be placed on the field. Parking will be free in Lot B/C, and fans should enter through Gate A, near Unitas Plaza.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if a few of those pols showed up.