OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome didn’t put a timetable on how much longer he’ll continue to run the AFC North franchise, but emphasized he remains happy in his job.
Newsome is often the subject of unfounded rumors that he’s going to return to Alabama to become the athletic director at his alma mater.
"Well, I don’t know," Newsome said tonight during a conference call with season ticket holders. "I’m enjoying it. I’ve got a young quarterback, a young back, a stud defensive tackle. Terrell Suggs has been here for seven years and is only 27 years old.
"I’m still enjoying this. I’ve got a great working relationship with the owner, the president and the head coach. I’ve got a great building to come to work. Now that they’ve got Nick Saban, they don’t need me. Nick is running everything. Now that Nick’s down there, it allows me to stay up here and enjoy this."
A Hall of Fame tight end with the Cleveland Browns, Newsome starred for the late Bear Bryant at Alabama.
The Ravens have a contractual arrangement with director of player personnel Eric DeCosta that gives him financial incentives to remain in Baltimore under Newsome rather than take a general manager position elsewhere. DeCosta is expected to eventually succeed Newsome as the Ravens’ general manager.
"We’ve given Eric a contract that gives him incentives to stay," team president Dick Cass told Ravens24x7.com at the annual league meetings this spring. "It doesn’t keep him from leaving for the right situation, but it would have to be absolutely the right situation for him to leave. So, hopefully he’ll be with us for a long time as well as Ozzie."
"This is not new because we had Phil Savage in the same position years ago and we were faced with the same thing and, at the time, I just said to Ozzie that I didn’t want to end up losing both of them in a few-year period," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told 24×7 last year prior to giving DeCosta a new contract.
"All I asked Ozzie was if you want to stay long-term we’re going to ultimately lose Phil because someone is going to give him an opportunity. Fortunately and unfortunately, we’re in the same position. I wouldn’t be happy if Ozzie said he was ready to leave in two or three years and I couldn’t guarantee Eric something. So, right now, Ozzie is happy in his job, plans on staying a long time and we will talk to Eric and try to build in some incentives to make it even more palatable to him and reward that patience.
"I built my other business and the people that are running that business today are young people that I hired in the late 80′s. I have a lot of experience with promoting from within and I would like nothing more than for Eric to be patient enough and interested enough in staying. I think we’ve got a well-run organization. I think things are pretty smooth. I think he sees that. It’s just a matter of is a perfect job going to come available while Ozzie still has five-plus years on the clock and really that’s what we’re trying to do is limit our exposure that there’s only a couple of jobs out there that Eric would leave for. If he stays and takes over Ozzie’s responsibilities, five, 10 years from now, it would be great for me. It would be great for Baltimore."