To say that Ozzie Newsome’s term as general manager was successful is an understatement. Newsome’s 22-year reign in Baltimore that spanned between two owners, three coaches, and 20 quarterbacks oversaw the creation of a football franchise where winning was an indispensable tenet. As the longest-tenured non-owner general manager in the league before stepping down, Newsome’s career in Baltimore instilled a level of success unseen by most organizations. The decision to walk away from the general manager position of a team that he built from the ground up, and one that loved him so much, could not be an easy one. As Ozzie Newsome steps back into a supportive role in the front office, he leaves the keys of the franchise in the hands of his protégé, Eric DeCosta.
As general manager, Ozzie Newsome created some of the best teams to ever tread the turf. The Super Bowl-winning Ravens 2000 team was led by a dominant defense, built off the back of amazing draft picks and free agent acquisitions. In the Ravens’ first draft ever in 1996, Newsome selected back to back future Hall of Fame inductees. He took Jonathan Ogden, class of 2013, and Ray Lewis, class of 2018, with the fourth and 26th picks respectively. Newsome continued to build the team, and in 2012, he served as the chief architect of another Super Bowl winning team. Baltimore’s 2012 team was a more complete one. Not only was the team blessed with defensive mainstays like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata, but it also boasted an exceptional offense. That offense was led by 2008 first and second round picks Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, along with wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and Jacoby Jones.
Newsome’s exceptional drafting instincts and abilities landed the Ravens two homegrown Hall of Fame players, and the Ravens will likely see two more be enshrined in Canton in the near future. Safety Ed Reed is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019, and Terrell Suggs is widely considered to be a sure-fire addition to the Hall. Newsome’s exceptional talents in player evaluation were matched only by the leadership he gave to the organization for 22 years. Newsome’s presence in the team created cultures of success and humility. Newsome’s imprint on the team and the city of Baltimore will be felt long beyond retirement. He is already enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a tight end for the Cleveland Browns, but Newsome deserves to be enshrined again for his work with the Ravens. I think I speak for the whole Ravens Flock when I say, thank you, Ozzie Newsome.