Art Modell won't be there and, likely, neither will the intensity and combativeness that made the Browns-Steelers rivalry special years before anyone had dreamed up free agency or salary caps.

No, something will be missing Monday when the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, separated by 140 miles of asphalt but linked by five decades of mutual tradition, renew a series unlike any other in the NFL.It will be easily evident, too, by the orange armbands that Steelers' fans will wear in empathy for their Cleveland brethren, and by the lack of signs that characteristically tell the Browns ... well, where to go.

This time, win or lose or tie, everybody knows where the Browns are going, and what it will do to this rivalry.

The Browns, blasphemous as it sounds, are deserting Cleveland for Baltimore - and, in a way, they're also betraying their most-hated but equally most-respected rivals, the Steelers, too.

"I'm sick about (the move)," Steelers president Dan Rooney said. "This is the best rivalry in sports. To go up there to play in Cleveland on that grass field on a gray day - I don't want to get dramatic, but it really is something. It's the essence of football,"

It hasn't been lost on the players, either, even if they lack a sense of the historical importance that this regional rivalry has possessed since the Browns joined the NFL in 1950.

They know that the Steelers (5-4), for all of their injury miseries and a recent stretch of four losses in five games, seized momentum and first place in the AFC Central with a 37-34 overtime upset in Chicago last week.

They also know the Browns (4-5) were a distracted and disjointed bunch in losing 37-10 to Houston on their home field - well, their home field for now - and might be ready to pack it in if they lose. Or, at least, ready to pack their bags for Baltimore.

"Modell said it was a good business decision for him (to move), and I'm sure it was," said Steelers quarterback Mike Tomczak, who once played in Cleveland. "But you've got to take into account what has laid the foundation for that success."

Namely, the loyalty and support of the Browns' fans, who have faithfully supported a team that has not played in an NFL championship game in 31 years. The Steelers will make a return visit to Cleveland on Nov. 26, to again dress in a locker room that's about the size of a two-car garage, and to hang their clothes on nails rather than hangers, but it won't be the same.

And, likely, it will never be the same.

On Sunday, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was asked by Fox TV commentator and former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, himself wearing an orange armband, on what he would tell the fans in Cleveland about the Browns' move.

"The first thing I'd say is that he (Modell) hasn't left yet. We have policies, we have procedures. We're going to see if the move is justified or not," Tagliabue said.

"The second thing is what I said before: we'll keep an eye on a game plan and try to serve these fans. Herem we're striking a balance again. Baltimore wants a team. The governor and mayor went after the team. I've been working with the mayor of Cleveland and we want to keep a team in Cleveland," he said.

The Steelers' fans no doubt will be as roused and rowdy as ever, but as the signs that will be handed to them Monday read, "How Can We Hate a Brown-less Cleveland?"