Since I started doing what I do here at Russell Street Report I’ve been blessed with some opportunities that otherwise would never have come my way. One of those blessings is getting to know Ravens Assistant GM Eric DeCosta.
Now I have no doubt that some of you reading this will accuse me of having a man crush. If that’s your conclusion, so be it. If that’s how you define admiring a man’s commitment to his family and to his job, I’m ok with that.
DeCosta is a stickler for detail and is continually seeking ways to improve, seemingly never satisfied with the accomplishments he’s had. If he were a player, he’d be the kind of guy who frets the plays he left on the field instead of the impressive stats that suggest that he didn’t.
He reads books about business; absorbs great works of literature; and is a sponge when it comes to the teachings of coaches and executives, some that he knows, some that are legends. His appetite for knowledge is in large part a way to stretch his mind – see things from unfamiliar perspectives as part of an effort to explore new frontiers as a league executive.
He’s also deeply committed to his family.
I recall when hosting our radio program GAMETIME a few years back, DeCosta and his wife Lacie joined me in studio. He once told me how while cutting his teeth in the NFL talent business as a scout, he would spend more than half the calendar year on the road, living in and out of less than desirable motels and washing clothes in bathtubs and then draping them over shower rods to dry.
That’s not a very glamorous lifestyle but it’s part of the process – it’s part of paying dues and it helped him to get to where he is today.
But his partner in life also paid a price, so I asked Lacie to come in studio to explain what the other half does while hubby is schlepping around the country in far-reaching corners of sparse geography visiting schools, interviewing coaches and watching kids play in search of the next unknown college superstar.
Years have come and gone since that visit in studio and the immediate DeCosta family has grown to five. Lacie is from the Baltimore area and is part of a closely-knit family. That’s a great thing for the DeCostas and it’s a great thing for Ravens fans. It keeps Eric anchored here in Baltimore as Ozzie Newsome’s assistant.
If Newsome stays around long enough, there may come a day when DeCosta’s patience wavers; when his children are a bit older and perhaps more open to change. Maybe then an opportunity will come along that is just too difficult to turn down.
You can only keep a man with DeCosta’s potential in the on-deck circle so long.
Some pretty decent NFL jobs could have already been his. But given the quality of the Ravens organization, his family ties and having seen friends and colleagues like Phil Savage and George Kokinis jump at the first GM opportunity that came along (both in Cleveland) and end up with torched careers, DeCosta doesn’t blink.
It’s only natural that other teams would seek the best NFL GM in waiting.
It seems equally as natural that DeCosta remains steadfastly focused upon his dream job – GM of the Baltimore Ravens.