Flourishing at every point of his football career, Newsome has not just followed a successful path; he has blazed the trail. Known throughout all of sports as a premier leader, Newsome is a Hall of Fame player, the architect of Baltimore’s Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XLVII championship teams and an elite personnel evaluator who became the NFL’s first African American general manager in 2002.
“Ozzie’s credibility is what stands out the most,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh states. “And it’s not just about what he has accomplished. To me, it’s his commitment and focus while striving to do more.”
Newsome’s remarkable football journey began in Leighton, AL, where he first stepped onto the gridiron with the hope of playing college football. That dream turned into a reality when he became a standout at Alabama under Bear Bryant from 1974-77. “Coach Bryant helped me grow up,” states Newsome, who has a sideline portrait of the legendary coach and mentor on his office wall. “He pushed me further than I thought I could go, both on and off the field.”
In 1978, Cleveland selected Newsome in the first round of the NFL Draft. Playing 13 years for the Browns, he authored the most productive career for a tight end in the history of the game. A three-time Pro Bowler, his 662 receptions for 7,980 yards and 47 TDs stood as NFL records by a tight end until Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe surpassed those marks in 2001 (Tony Gonzalez has since set every such record).
Following his storied playing days, Ozzie joined Cleveland’s front office. His initial non-player position came as an assignment scout in 1991. Two years later, he was promoted to a very comprehensive assignment – assistant to the head coach/offense/pro personnel. “I had to find out which direction my career would go,” Newsome explains. “Art [Modell] gave me the opportunity to work with the coaches, and I enjoyed that. At the same time, I increased my experience with the personnel department and decided that’s where I wanted my career to head.”
In 1994, Newsome was named the Browns’ director of pro personnel. Although he continued to help on the field, Ozzie provided detailed studies on other NFL players and recommended which players the Browns should try to acquire. When the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996, Mr. Modell invited Newsome and promoted him to vice president of player personnel. From that point, Ozzie’s reputation as a supreme talent assessor grew quickly.
In the Ravens’ first-ever draft, Newsome and Co. tabbed T Jonathan Ogden and LB Ray Lewis (the fourth and 26th selections, respectively). Combining to produce an amazing 24 Pro Bowl honors, Ogden became the first Ravens’ draft choice elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2013), while Lewis, who retired following the 2012 campaign, is a surefire lock to be enshrined in Canton. Fittingly, the duo will join Newsome, who was inducted into the Hall as a Brown in 1999.
Starting with Ogden and Lewis, Newsome has consistently compiled impressive draft classes for the Ravens. In the team’s first 20 drafts (1996-2015), Baltimore selected 20 first-rounders who have earned a total of 56 Pro Bowl honors. And when the Ravens have had a high pick, they haven’t missed. Of the seven players chosen in the Top 10 by Baltimore, five (Ogden, OLB Peter Boulware, CB Chris McAlister, RB Jamal Lewis, the 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and OLB Terrell Suggs, the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year) have earned Pro Bowl accolades. Additionally, Baltimore has picked in the bottom half of the first round with uncanny success: Lewis was twice named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year; TE Todd Heap (31st) went to two Pro Bowls as a Raven; S Ed Reed (24th) was tabbed an All-Star nine times and also earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004; QB Joe Flacco (18th) was named Super Bowl XLVII MVP, leading the Ravens to their second World Championship in 2012; and LB C.J. Mosley (17th) became the first Ravens rookie to earn Pro Bowl honors following an exceptional 2014 season.
Amazingly, in the Ravens’ brief history, Newsome and his staff have drafted 17 players who have earned Pro Bowl honors. When including 2006 Pro Bowl LB Bart Scott, 2013 Pro Bowl K Justin Tucker and 2015 Pro Bowl LS Morgan Cox, who signed as undrafted rookie free agents in 2002, 2012 and 2010, respectively, Baltimore has produced 20 homegrown Pro Bowlers in just 20 seasons.
In addition to his knack for evaluating talent on the field, Newsome has also mastered the ability to develop and share insight with the scouts who work under him. The Ravens boast a methodical and disciplined draft process, one that’s foundation is laid years in advance. The “process” includes 22 full-time members of the personnel department, but also has feedback from Ravens coaches. Most of Ozzie’s staff has been with the team since the franchise started in 1996 or has graduated from the “20/20 Club,” a group that consists of members who began with the Ravens as young assistants and grew into evaluators with more input. (The term “20/20” refers to hiring “20-year-olds for $20,000.” “Actually, the guys started when they were a little older than 20 and for more than $20,000, but that’s what we call them,” Newsome adds.)
The Ravens do not belong to the National Football Scouting group, which provides member teams a log of reports on players eligible for the draft. Instead, they make their own list, and that means looking at every player on a collegiate roster. “We do a lot of cross-checking,” says Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, a graduate of Newsome’s “20/20 Club.” “A number of us look at everyone, and then we have the area scouts look at certain players from other regions so we get multiple grades and opinions on all the players.”
Newsome, who is on the NFL’s Competition Committee and the NFL Player Care Foundation Board, encourages all scouts and coaches to have strong opinions, noting specifically that he wants to hear what everyone in the room has to say. Because of this philosophy, Ozzie believes the biggest strength of the Ravens’ personnel team is that “we respect and listen to each other.”
“What sets us apart is that we have guys who cut their teeth right here in Baltimore, learning the way we do things,” Newsome affirms. “And we have had some great guys with Phil Savage, ‘Shack’ [James Harris], George Kokinis, Eric DeCosta and other people who were helping these young scouts along the way. I think that’s the secret. It’s not Ozzie. It’s the way we do things, and the way these guys gravitate to the process of the Baltimore Ravens.”
Newsome also fosters a working environment that breeds standout coaches. By bringing in individuals who embrace the “Raven Way,” Newsome aims to create a synergy that manufactures success among the scouts, coaches and players. As a result, Baltimore has had many of its assistants move on to become or return as head coaches, both on the collegiate and NFL level: Jim Caldwell (Lions), Jack Del Rio (Jaguars/Raiders), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Pat Hill (Fresno State), Hue Jackson (Raiders/Browns), Gary Kubiak (Broncos), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Eric Mangini (Browns/Jets), Rick Neuheisel (UCLA), Mike Nolan (49ers), Chuck Pagano (Colts), Mike Pettine (Browns), Rex Ryan (Jets/Bills), Jim Schwartz (Lions), David Shaw (Stanford), Mike Singletary (49ers), Mike Smith (Falcons) and Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals/Titans).
“[Ravens] players believe, and that’s the beauty of it,” states Ryan, who worked with Newsome from 1999-2008. “Ozzie brings in the right kind of players, and one thing we’ve always talked about is we don’t want to coach effort. And that’s the thing – we don’t. [Ravens] guys love to play the game, and those are the guys you surround yourself with. That’s why you have a chance to be successful [in Baltimore].”
Newsome’s motivation and work ethic are also reasons many people respect him. One specific way that devotion shines through is in his everyday routine. If Ozzie’s not in his office or out on the practice field, he can be found on the treadmill in the Ravens’ weight room. Exercising daily (and often putting in two-a-days), Ozzie says his workouts are just another way he tracks the pulse of the team.
“By being around the coaches and players out at practice,” Newsome states, “and being in that weight room around those players, I think I get a chance to build some things in my mind of how I’d like the makeup of our football team.”
A year-by-year look at Newsome’s career:
2015: The Ravens finished third in the AFC North after posting a 5-11 record…Baltimore had 20 players on Injured Reserve (NFL’s second most), including eight key starters…The Ravens played an NFL-record 14 games decided by 8 points or fewer (tied, 1994 NY Giants)…Despite playing four different starting QBs (Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub, Jimmy Clausen & Ryan Mallett) for the first time in franchise history, Baltimore posted the second-most total net yards (5,749) in team annals…The Ravens also set a franchise record by averaging 266.9 passing yards per game…Leading the O-line was G Marshal Yanda, who earned his fifth-straight Pro Bowl nod…The Ravens boasted the NFL’s top overall special teams unit, ranking No. 1 in senior NFL writer Rick Gosselin’s (The Dallas Morning News) annual comprehensive ratings system…P Sam Koch and LS Morgan Cox (a “need” player) earned their first All-Star honors, with Koch posting a 42.9 net average (second in the NFL)…The Ravens ranked No. 8 in total defense, while in the second half of the season (final eight games), Baltimore posted the NFL’s No. 2 overall defense and the No. 1 pass defense…OLB Elvis Dumervil posted a team-high 6 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
2014: The Ravens produced a 10-6 regular season record en route to earning their sixth playoff berth in seven seasons…Baltimore, one of three AFC North teams to make the 2014 postseason, finished third in the division behind Pittsburgh (11-5) and Cincinnati (10-5-1), but advanced to the Divisional Playoff round after capturing a 30-17 Wild Card victory in the Steel City…The Ravens’ bid to reach their fourth AFC Championship game under John Harbaugh was cut short in New England, where Baltimore fell to the Patriots, 35-31, after holding two 14-point leads during a thrilling battle…The Ravens set single-season franchise records by scoring 409 points (including a team-best 206 on the road) and producing 5,838 yards of offense…QB Joe Flacco tallied career bests in yards (3,986) and touchdown passes (27), while key free agent addition WR Steve Smith Sr. reached the 1,000-yard receiving milestone for the eighth time in his career (1,065 yards on 79 catches)…WR Torrey Smith posted 11 receiving TDs, a mark that ranks as the second most in Ravens single-season history…First-time Pro Bowl RB Justin Forsett – another key free agent addition – produced a career-high 1,266 rushing yards (the NFL’s fifth most) and led the league in runs of 20-plus yards (a team-record 17)…Led by OLB Terrell Suggs and 2014 Pro Bowl selections OLB Elvis Dumervil and rookie LB C.J. Mosley (the team’s top overall draft choice), Baltimore tallied the NFL’s second-most sacks (49, tied with Philadelphia) and boasted the No. 2 red zone defense (42.6)…P Sam Koch produced the NFL’s No. 3 gross average (47.4) and No. 1 net average (43.3), setting the Ravens’ single-season records for each.
2013: For the first time since 2008 – the year the Ravens hired John Harbaugh – Baltimore did not make the playoffs, falling one game short with an 8-8 mark and placing third in the AFC North (the Ravens were 3-3 in the division, splitting with all three rivals)…Baltimore played an NFL-high nine games decided by 3 points or fewer (5-4 record in those contests)…LB Daryl Smith, a key free agent acquisition, had 19 passes defensed, setting a Ravens’ record by a linebacker (Ray Lewis, 13 in 2003)…Smith finished with career highs in sacks (5), INTs (3) & PD (19) and led the team in tackles (123)…OLB Terrell Suggs (10) and OLB Elvis Dumervil (9.5), another top free agent offseason signing, combined for 19.5 sacks, with Suggs earning his sixth Pro Bowl invite…NT Haloti Ngata was elected to his fifth Pro Bowl, while CB Lardarius Webb’s 22 PD tied (Alterraun Verner) for the NFL’s most…WR Torrey Smith tallied 1,128 receiving yards, the second most in single-season team history (Michael Jackson - 1,201 in 1996) and had a career-high 65 catches…Undrafted rookie WR Marlon Brown’s 7 receiving TDs tied (Torrey Smith, 2011) for the most by a rookie in team history, while he also finished second (Smith, 2011) in catches (49) and receiving yards (524) by a Ravens’ rookie…Pro Bowl K Justin Tucker set franchise records in FGs made (38) and FGs attempted (41) and produced a franchise-record 140 points (tied for sixth in NFL)…Tucker also had 6 FGs of 50-plus yards and kicked 3 game-winning FGs, including a team-record 61-yarder at Detroit.
2012: Capturing the franchise’s second World Championship with a victory in Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens finished with a 10-6 record (14-6 overall) en route to earning their fifth-straight playoff berth and second-consecutive AFC North title…Baltimore became the only NFL team to make the playoffs in each season from 2008-12 – with the Ravens also winning at least one playoff game each year…The Ravens also seized the franchise’s fourth-ever division title with a 4-2 mark in AFC North play and an 8-4 overall conference record…Baltimore set a then-single-season franchise record by scoring 398 points, averaging the NFL’s 10th-most per game (24.9)…The Ravens scored a team-record 254 points at home, producing the NFL’s fourth-best home average of 31.8 ppg…Baltimore also surrendered just 16 give-aways, setting a franchise single-season record low…The Ravens’ special teams units were spectacular: In addition to posting a league-best (tied, Darius Reynaud) 3 kick return TDs (108- & 105-yard KORs and 63-yard PR), WR/RS Jacoby Jones led the NFL in KOR average (30.7). Rookie K Justin Tucker, an undrafted free agent signing, made 30 of 33 FGAs (90.9%), producing the third-best success rate in Ravens single-season history and the second-best mark by a rookie kicker in NFL history…En route to winning Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31, over the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, the Ravens produced one of the most electrifying postseasons in NFL history: Averaging 410.3 yards of offense (134.8 rush & 275.5 pass) per game, Baltimore scored 31.0 points per contest while allowing just 22.0. WR Anquan Boldin recorded 22 catches for 380 yards and 4 TDs, while Jones posted a 29.4 receiving average (5 for 147), catching TDs of 70 and 56 yards. (Jones also had a 108-yard KOR-TD in the Super Bowl.)…With a 3-TD performance vs. the 49ers, QB Joe Flacco threw 11 TD passes in the postseason, tying the NFL single-postseason record shared by Joe Montana (1989) and Kurt Warner (2008). (Flacco and Montana did not throw an interception during those respective postseasons.) Flacco finished the Super Bowl 22-of-33 for 287 yards to produce a 124.2 rating (eighth-best mark in SB history) and earned game MVP honors…The Ravens’ defense was also stout during the playoffs, registering 10 take-aways (6 INTs and 4 FRs) to produce a +6 overall turnover differential. The unit posted 9 sacks in four playoff games, including 4.5 by OLB Paul Kruger…For their regular season efforts, six Ravens earned Pro Bowl honors: S Ed Reed (ninth), DT Haloti Ngata (fourth), FB Vonta Leach (third), RB Ray Rice (third), G Marshal Yanda (second) and Jones (first).
2011: The Ravens became the only NFL team to earn the playoffs from 2008-11, also winning the AFC North by sweeping the division for the first time in franchise history…Producing a second-straight 12-4 campaign, Baltimore also went 6-0 against playoff teams during the regular season…Baltimore earned a 20-13 Divisional Round victory over Houston at home, but the Ravens’ Super Bowl hopes came to a devastating end in New England with a last-second, 23-20 loss in the AFC Championship game…The Ravens’ defense, which finished No. 3 in the league in fewest points permitted (16.6 ppg) for the fourth-straight year, tied an NFL record for consecutive seasons of being in the Top 3 for points allowed…RB Ray Rice produced a career-high and NFL-best 2,068 yards from scrimmage, ranking second in rushing (1,364 yards)...Rice also set a team mark with 15 total TDs…WR Torrey Smith, the Ravens’ 2011 second-round draft pick, was third among NFL rookies with 841 receiving yards (50 catches); his receptions and yards, plus 7 TDs, set new Ravens first-year standards…Eight Ravens earned Pro Bowl honors: LB Ray Lewis (13th), S Ed Reed (eighth), OLB Terrell Suggs (fifth), DT Haloti Ngata (third), 2011 free agent acquisition FB Vonta Leach (second), RB Ray Rice (second), G Ben Grubbs (first) and G Marshal Yanda (first)…Suggs was also named the 2011 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, marking the fourth time a Raven has won the honor (Reed - 2004, and Lewis - 2003 & 2000).
2010: Baltimore tied Pittsburgh for the best record in the division at 12-4, but lost the AFC North on the division-record tiebreaker (5-1 to 4-2)…Baltimore, Indianapolis (an NFL record nine in a row) and Philadelphia became the only teams to make the playoffs from 2008-10…The 2010 campaign also marked the first time the Ravens ever earned the postseason three years in a row (the Ravens later extended their record to five years in 2012)…In the Wild Card game at Kansas City, the Ravens prevailed, 30-7, becoming the only NFL team to win at least one playoff game in each of the last three seasons…John Harbaugh became the first head coach in NFL history to take over a sub-.500 team and then win a playoff game in each of his first three seasons…Five Ravens earned Pro Bowl honors: LB Ray Lewis (12th), S Ed Reed (seventh), OLB Terrell Suggs (fourth), DT Haloti Ngata (second) and K Billy Cundiff (first)…Pro Bowl WR Anquan Boldin, acquired by Newsome in an offseason trade with Arizona, tallied team highs in 64 catches and 837 receiving yards.
2009: After posting a 9-7 record, the Ravens produced their sixth playoff team of the decade (2000-09)...Behind an offense that ranked ninth in NFL scoring (24.4 ppg) and a defense that finished third in total yards (300.5 ypg) and points (16.3 ppg) allowed, the Ravens upended the Patriots (33-14) in the Wild Card round, becoming the first road team to win a playoff game at New England since 1978...For the first time in team history, Baltimore had a 3,000-yard passer (Joe Flacco - 3,613), a 1,000-yard rusher (Ray Rice - 1,339) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Derrick Mason - 1,028) in the same season...Five Ravens were voted to the Pro Bowl, including LB Ray Lewis (11th), S Ed Reed (sixth), FB Le’Ron McClain (second), DT Haloti Ngata (first) and Rice (first)...Rookie T Michael Oher, who started 16 games, finished second for Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year (NFL.com fan vote) and earned All-Rookie team honors.
2008: Along with owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and several other front office executives, Newsome headed the search committee that hired first-year head coach John Harbaugh...The Ravens posted an 11-5 regular season record and advanced to the AFC Championship game, where they fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers…Led by Newsome and Harbaugh, Baltimore produced 13 total victories, which set an NFL record for most wins by a first-year head coach (Harbaugh) and rookie quarterback (Joe Flacco)…Baltimore’s stifling defense – ranked No. 2 in the NFL – set several franchise records, while the Ravens also had five players earn Pro Bowl honors: LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed, ST Brendon Ayanbadejo, OLB Terrell Suggs and FB Le’Ron McClain…Flacco, who became the first rookie QB ever to win two playoff games, was named the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year (NFL.com fan vote).
2007: Despite finishing 5-11 in an injury-marred season (Baltimore lost 77 games to starters), the Ravens sent four players to the Pro Bowl: T Jonathan Ogden (11th), LB Ray Lewis (ninth), S Ed Reed (fourth) and RB Willis McGahee (first)...Former free agent acquisition WR Derrick Mason (2005) set a Ravens’ single-season record with 103 receptions...Ravens had six different rookies start a game, tying for the second most in the NFL.
2006: Baltimore produced the best record in franchise history with a 13-3 mark before falling to Indianapolis in the Divisional Playoff, 15-6...Thanks to key offseason free agent additions like 2003 NFL co-MVP QB Steve McNair, four-time Pro Bowl DT Trevor Pryce and Pro Bowl special teamer Gary Stills, the Ravens improved in all three phases of the game...Additionally, the Ravens had five rookie draft picks start at least one contest, including first-rounder DT Haloti Ngata (16 games) and fifth-round pick S Dawan Landry (14 games)...Both Ngata and Landry earned PFW/PFWA All-Rookie Team honors and were integral pieces of Baltimore’s No. 1-ranked defense...Ravens produced eight Pro Bowl players, including McNair...After the Ravens’ 27-26 win at Tennessee, keyed by McNair’s 373-yard, 3-TD effort and Pryce’s game-clinching FG block, Newsome was awarded the game ball for his efforts in building the 2006 team.
2005: A difficult season ended with a 6-10 record…The Ravens lost 67 games to starting players with injuries, third most in the NFL…Pro Bowlers WR Derrick Mason and CB Samari Rolle, were added for the campaign…T Jonathan Ogden made his ninth-straight Pro Bowl…First-round draft choice WR Mark Clayton set then-rookie records with single-season franchise highs in catches (44) and yards (471).
2004: Baltimore, with key starters missing a total of 53 games, fell one game short of the playoffs, finishing with a 9-7 mark…S Ed Reed, the Ravens’ first pick in 2002, was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year…Reed, LB Ray Lewis, CB Chris McAlister, T Jonathan Ogden and OLB Terrell Suggs all made the Pro Bowl…In June 2004, the Pro Football Writers Association honored Newsome with the Jack Horrigan Award for his cooperation and understanding of the media.
2003: Ravens won their first division title with a 10-6 record...Baltimore hosted the Titans in the Wild Card game, but fell, 20-17…Ravens sent an NFL-best (tied with KC) eight players to the Pro Bowl, all of whom were originally drafted by Baltimore…The Ravens picked OLB Terrell Suggs (first round, 10th overall), who posted a team rookie-record 12 sacks and earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors…RB Jamal Lewis was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, posting the then-second-most rushing yards in league history (2,066)…LB Ray Lewis earned his second (2000) Defensive Player of the Year honor.
2002: Was promoted and became the NFL’s first African American general manager…Newsome and his staff assembled the youngest team in league history…Most observers predicted the Ravens would win very few games, but Baltimore entered Week 15 with a 7-7 mark and a chance to be the AFC’s top Wild Card playoff team…Two last-minute losses to Cleveland (14-13) and at Pittsburgh (34-31) gave Baltimore a 7-9 mark…That year’s draft produced two immediate starters (S Ed Reed & DE Anthony Weaver) and standout returner Lamont Brightful…Reed led the Ravens with 5 INTs and made every NFL All-Rookie team.
2001: Picking late in each round after winning Super Bowl XXXV, Newsome and his staff continued to draft well by selecting TE Todd Heap (first round, 31st overall), who finished his Ravens career in 2010 as the franchise’s all-time leader in TD catches (41)…Ravens concluded the season with a 10-6 record and won at Miami (21-3) in the Wild Card game before falling in the Divisional Playoff at Pittsburgh (27-10)…Six Ravens earned Pro Bowl honors.
2000: Newsome was voted the NFL’s Executive of the Year…Finishing 12-4, the Ravens earned a Wild Card berth and won Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7, over the New York Giants…Baltimore’s bruising defense, considered one of the best in league history, permitted just 970 rushing yards and 165 points – both NFL records in a 16-game season…The architects of the Ravens’ Super Bowl championship team, Newsome and his staff hit gold with the selection of RB Jamal Lewis (the team’s all-time leading rusher) with the fifth pick in the first round…As a rookie, Lewis set a then-Ravens’ team record with 1,364 rushing yards…The Ravens had five Pro Bowlers, including key free agents DT Sam Adams and S Rod Woodson, whom Newsome signed.
1999: The Ravens finished 8-8 in Brian Billick’s first season as head coach and had five players named to the Pro Bowl…Newsome continued a hot hand at drafting by tabbing Arizona CB Chris McAlister (10th overall), who earned three Pro Bowls (2003-04 and 2006) in Baltimore.
1998: Coordinated the selection of CB Duane Starks with the Ravens’ first pick (10th overall)…Starks tied for the NFL’s INT lead among rookies that year (equaling Charles Woodson’s 5)…Starks then added 5 more thefts in his second season and led the Ravens with 6 picks in 2000, including a 49-yard INT for a TD against the NY Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
1997: In their second draft, the Ravens picked eventual four-time Pro Bowl LB Peter Boulware, LB Jamie Sharper, S Kim Herring and C Jeff Mitchell – all of whom became starters vs. the Giants in the Super Bowl XXXV victory…Boulware, the Ravens’ No. 2 all-time sacks leader (70, behind OLB Terrell Suggs – 106.5), was the consensus choice for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and led the AFC in sacks (15) in 2001.
1996: Art Modell invited Newsome to join him as the Ravens’ VP of player personnel when the team moved from Cleveland to Baltimore…Under Newsome’s direction, the 1996 draft produced two perennial Pro Bowlers in T Jonathan Ogden (a Pro Football Hall of Famer) and LB Ray Lewis, who was the Super Bowl XXXV MVP and NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 & 2003…Also earning the Pro Bowl as a returner was WR Jermaine Lewis (1998 and 2001), a fifth-rounder in that draft, who still holds several franchise career return records.
1991-95: (with Cleveland) First position in the Browns’ front office was as a special assignment scout…Two years later (1993), Newsome was promoted to a very comprehensive assignment – assistant to the head coach (Bill Belichick)/offense/pro personnel…In 1994, Newsome was named the Browns’ director of pro personnel…Although he continued to help on the field, Newsome provided detailed studies on other NFL players and recommended which players the Browns should try to acquire.
NFL PLAYER: 1978-90: (with Cleveland) Newsome retired after 13 years as a premier NFL tight end…Entering 2016, his 662 receptions and 7,980 receiving yards both rank fifth most all time by a TE (each mark also stands as the most ever by any player in Browns history)…Newsome also caught 47 career touchdown passes, fourth most in Browns annals…Newsome ended his career as the fourth-leading NFL receiver of all time…He earned three Pro Bowls (1981, 1984-85) and was a four-time winner of the Cleveland Touchdown Club’s Offensive Player of the Year award (1978, 1981 and 1983-84)…His streak of 150-consecutive games with a catch by a TE is the second longest in NFL history (Tony Gonzalez, 211)…Winner of the 1990 Byron “Whizzer” White Award as the NFL’s top community volunteer…Newsome, who was named to the All-NFL team of the 1980’s (second team), consistently received All-AFC and All-NFL honors throughout his career…He was a 1978 No. 1 draft choice (23rd overall), along with LB Clay Matthews (12th overall), and the two are among an elite group of Browns to have played for three decades…The others are Gene Hickerson (1958-60, 62-73), Dick Schafrath (1959-71) and Don Cockroft (1968-80)…Until former Ravens TE Shannon Sharpe broke his records in 2001, Newsome’s pro career was the most productive of any TE in NFL history…Newsome was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999…Calvin Hill (RB - Dallas, Washington, Cleveland), a close friend of his, introduced Newsome at the induction ceremony.
COLLEGE: Newsome graduated from Alabama with a degree in recreation administration…During his four-year career with the Crimson Tide, he posted 102 receptions for 2,070 yards and 16 TDs…Newsome also helped Alabama capture three SEC Championships…As a senior in 1977, he was named team captain and the Southeastern Conference’s Lineman of the Year…Newsome also earned All-American honors at WR…He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (South Bend, IN) in 1994.
PERSONAL: Attended Colbert County (Leighton, AL) HS…Winner of the 1990 Byron “Whizzer” White Award as the NFL’s top community volunteer, he is widely known for his willingness to help those in need…In 2014, Newsome received the Leadership Award for career achievement at the John Mackey Awards banquet…In 2012, he was honored with the Maxwell Football Club’s Francis J. “Reds” Bagnell Award for outstanding contribution to the game of football…In 2008, Newsome was honored by Little League Baseball – a sport in which he competed as a child – for his lifetime athletic achievements by being inducted into its Hall of Fame…In 2007, along with Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards and Lovie Smith, Newsome received the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s Johnnie Cochran Salute to Excellence Award, which honors African Americans in the NFL who make the biggest impact on the field and in the front office…Newsome was also honored with the award in 2009, 2011 and 2012…Additionally, in 2007, Newsome received the FPA’s Paul “Tank” Younger Award, acknowledging his dedication and achievement in building a successful organization…Newsome has gained induction into eight Halls of Fame: Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH (1999), National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame (1994), NCAA Hall of Fame (1994), State of Alabama Hall of Fame (1995), National High School Hall of Fame (2014), National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame (2014), Colbert County High School (Leighton, AL) Hometown Hall of Fame (2012) and Little League Baseball Hall of Fame (2008)…An avid golfer, Ozzie says his dream foursome would include Bear Bryant, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and himself…Newsome and his wife, Gloria, live in Cockeysville, MD…The couple has a son, Michael Ryan, who attends the University of Alabama.