Ravens Players: In Ozzie We Trust


The first couple weeks of free agency were tough on the Ravens.

They traded away their top receiver, allowed a future Hall of Fame safety to walk away, and saw starter after starter leave town for other big paydays.

But in the midst of all the doom and gloom, third-year wide receiver Torrey Smith stressed total confidence in General Manager Ozzie Newsome.

"You just have to trust and believe," Smith said. "He can cut me today and I'd still be a firm believer in him. He has a proven track record and there's nothing you can take from that. He's won two rings, he's the mastermind behind that. When a guy has that type of reputation, you just have to trust it."

Smith made those comments at his charity basketball game Saturday, and his confidence was bolstered the next day when the Ravens announced a deal in principle with elite pass rusher Elvis Dumervil.

 "#TrustInOzzie," Smith wrote on Twitter a few minutes after the deal was announced.

Safety James Ihedigbo echoed that sentiment.

"IN OZZIE WE TRUST!!! #ravensnation," Ihedigbo tweeted.

This isn't the first time that the Ravens have gone through a somewhat tumultuous offseason of losing key players.

Last year they lost Jarret Johnson, Ben Grubbs and Cory Redding to free agency, and still went on to win the Super Bowl. In 2011 they cut Todd Heap, Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason and Kelly Gregg, and were a dropped pass away from making the Super Bowl.

"I just look back to when I first came in and they had to cut Mason, Heap and Willis McGahee, and everybody was panicking and saying, 'Oh, you're going to be terrible,'" Smith said. "We were a few plays away from the Super Bowl. You just have to trust the guy."

Fullback Vonta Leach, who has played nine years in the NFL, said that the roster turnover is just part of the process every offseason and that winning a Super Bowl raised the profile of some of the Ravens' free agents. 

"Guys know what kind of business this is," Leach said. "When you win a Super Bowl, when you got a lot of good players on your team, they get a chance to get paid. Everybody sees that talent. Other teams want somebody who has been to a Super Bowl, who has won a Super Bowl. Players that were free agents got the most of it."

The biggest challenge for fans, Smith said, is to deal with the losses of icons like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Those two future Hall of Famers have been the faces of the franchise for more than a decade, and their departure has ushered in a new era for Ravens football.

But with Newsome calling the shots and building the team, that future is still bright.

"It definitely takes a lot out of the fans, but it's just the business side of it and they got to experience first-hand," Smith said.  "But we'll be fine."

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