Ozzie Newsome Reacts to Stepping Down As General Manager Next Year, Sheds Light on New Role


Five years ago, Ravens Owner Steve Biscoitti approached Ozzie Newsome during their meeting at the owner's house in Florida with the succession plan at general manager. Now, here we are, one year away.

"Five years are going really, really fast," Newsome said Friday morning.

Newsome would probably prefer not to talk about the pending change. For the time being, nothing is different, and Newsome would rather work (and watch prospects) than talk about himself. That's just who he is.

But it was Newsome's year to speak with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine, so he took to the microphone to discuss the massive organizational switch to Eric DeCosta, share insight on his own role moving forward and reflect.

"It's a little bit like when I announced my retirement when I was a player," Newsome said, harkening back to 1990. "I had decided to retire one year, was asked to come back and play another year.

"You get a chance to get the pats on your back from all of the people, from [media] and all of my peers, on this little journey that I'm on."

It's been no "little" journey. Newsome is the only general manager the Ravens have ever known. According to ESPN, Newsome's tenure has spanned 149 NFL general managers.

He picked two Pro Football Hall of Famers (Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis) with his very first two draft selections and built two Super Bowl-winning rosters. The Ravens have gone to the playoffs 10 of their 22 years of existence. Newsome has been the one constant through all those years.

Could Newsome have imagined it would go this well?

"Winning helps. Winning that first Super Bowl probably propelled that," Newsome said. "I've had two great owners and three great head coaches that I've had the opportunity to work with [as well as support staff]."

Nothing will change for Newsome over the next year. He'll still make the final call on who the Ravens release, sign, trade and draft this offseason. But the question is what comes next year since Newsome will remain part of the team.

Newsome joked that Owner Steve Bisciotti wants to see Newsome's golf handicap get better. Newsome said he doesn't know what his new title will be yet, but will remain in the Under Armour Performance Center. He did provide a glimpse of his forthcoming job description.

"Very similar to what [DeCosta has] done for me. I'll be there," Newsome said. "The offline conversations that we have now we'll continue to have. I'll be a resource for him, a resource for Steve and a resource for [Head Coach] John [Harbaugh]."

It sounds like an advisory role on multiple fronts, both in the front office and with players. Newsome is a confidant for many people, a person who has seen it all from playing the game, coaching it and managing a roster. The Ravens will continue to tap into that wisdom.

"I get a chance to be a bit of a life coach," Newsome said. "Terrell [Suggs] is going into his 15th year, Ray [Lewis] had over 15 years. To be with those guys and watch them mature and grow from young college pups to real men, that's been probably my most enjoyable experience."

Newsome has worked hand-in-hand with DeCosta since the beginning. DeCosta was the first "20/20" scout (about 20 years old, making about $20,000 salary) that he hired. Newsome has confidence in him to take over.

"With Eric, No. 1, he's a very good person," Newsome said. "He's an excellent talent evaluator. He's really tough on his thoughts and opinions, but he's not stubborn. And he's a very good listener.

"He saw us as a very bare-bones organization, so he's had a chance to watch how this thing has grown, but he also understands the foundation of how this thing was built."

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