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Vince Newsome Retires As Senior Player Personnel Executive

Vince Newsome
Vince Newsome

Pressure never fazed Vince Newsome as a player or in the front office.

Even on the day he was drafted, Newsome played it cool. A defensive back from the University of Washington, Newsome attended a draft party with some of his college teammates to wait for his name to be called, but he didn't sweat the process.

While others enjoyed the festivities, Newsome retreated to a back room and took a nap.

"They woke me up, I got on the phone and thanked the Rams, and from that point I was determined to be better than they thought," Newsome said. "I never thought of myself as being this great player, but I was hard working and if given an opportunity, I'd make the best of it.

"I carry that attitude to this day. I never think of myself as the champ. I always think of myself as the challenger. If I thought like a challenger, I could always remain a champ."

The Ravens announced Monday that Newsome, 63, has retired as Senior Player Personnel Executive effective June 1 after a long and successful career as an NFL executive. The native of Vacaville, Calif., has been with the Ravens since their inception in 1996 and has played a key role in helping the organization build two Super Bowl-winning teams. During his tenure with the Ravens, he was a West area scout, Western College Supervisor, Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, and Director of Pro Personnel.

"Vincent has been a key figure in our scouting process for 30 years," General Manager Eric DeCosta stated. "Loyal, selfless and hard-working, he's succeeded in numerous roles throughout his career. I admire his integrity and his dedication to the Baltimore Ravens and before that, to the Browns. He is one of the very best examples of an NFL player who has also thrived as an NFL executive. We wish Vincent and [his wife] Tasha the very best as he retires from the Ravens."

Heavily involved in pro personnel decisions, Newsome is a well-respected talent evaluator with a keen eye and straightforward approach. His poise and preparation served him well. He was never afraid to voice his opinion and loved tough-minded players who put winning above personal glory.

"We brought in players who had a passion to win games," Newsome said. "It's a no-brainer to sign someone like Anquan Boldin – talented and tough. But there were many players who were unsung who helped us to win, guys like Cary Williams and Anthony Levine.

"Those were glue guys. They kept things headed in the right direction. My kind of players."

Newsome played 10 NFL seasons and was a starter in eight. Despite never playing at more than 190 pounds, Newsome led the team in tackles in four of those seasons. He was a dependable, tough-minded defensive back with the Rams (1983-90) and Browns (1990-92) who had 16 career interceptions.

His transition to the front office came quickly after he hung up his cleats following the 1992 season, when doctors diagnosed a narrowing of his spinal column that would make it dangerous to continue playing.

Browns Owner Art Modell wanted Newsome to remain in the organization, as did Head Coach Bill Belichick and Defensive Coordinator Nick Saban. They loved Newsome's smarts and instincts and valued his opinions.

Newsome was given a choice between coaching or personnel and decided on the latter. The presence of Ozzie Newsome (no relation), who was already in the Browns' front office being groomed for a bigger role, influenced Vince's decision.

"Ozzie was riding the exercise bike one day," Newsome said. "Michael Lombardi, who was in the Browns' front office at the time, looked over at where Ozzie was riding and said, 'He's going to be a general manager one day. You might want to work with him.'

"Remember, there weren't any Black general managers at the time, so when he said that, it was a bold statement."

Ozzie did become the NFL's first Black general manager with the Ravens, and Vince was one of the key personnel people who came with Ozzie when the franchise moved from Cleveland.

Vince remembers a staff meeting that Ozzie held in 1996 after Modell's decision to move his franchise from Cleveland. The gathering set the tone for the front office philosophy that Ozzie would establish, and Vince became part of it.

"At the beginning, Ozzie didn't pretend like he knew everything," Vince said. "He was like, 'Mr. Modell has given me an opportunity to run this team. I don't know how this is going to go, but I'd like you guys to come. Let's just shoot our shot, be honest with what we see, and try to build this thing.'

"Those group of people who came from Cleveland with Ozzie, we all worked together. We all felt like we couldn't let him fail."

Newsome plans to travel some with his wife, Tasha, and daughters Candace, Emerald, and Victoria, and he looks forward to having more free time.

Newsome was asked what he'd like co-workers with the Ravens to remember most about his long tenure in Baltimore. He paused as if he was looking over a scouting report, then gave a thoughtful answer.

"I'd like them to say that I was honest," Newsome said. "I've always responded to people who are straightforward, whether I liked what I was hearing from them or not. I don't think I've ever been dishonest with anybody I've ever dealt with here. That's what I'd hope they'd say."

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