Eric DeCosta to start as Ravens GM on Friday; Ozzie Newsome will have 'significant' role

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Football

BALTIMORE -- Eric DeCosta will take over as Ravens general manager Friday, a long-expected promotion for Ozzie Newsome's heir apparent that marks a new era for the team's front office.

DeCosta, 47, has worked under Newsome as the Ravens' assistant GM since 2012. Last year, team owner Steve Bisciotti announced that at the end of the 2018 season, the last year on Newsome's five-year contract, Newsome would cede control of football operations to DeCosta.

The Ravens said in a release Thursday that Newsome, 62, the architect of two Super Bowl-winning teams and the team's personnel chief since the franchise's inception, "will remain with the Ravens in a significant role," though it's unclear what that will entail.

At the February news conference announcing the team's succession plan, which followed a third straight season that ended short of the playoffs, Bisciotti said Newsome would help ensure a "smooth transition" to DeCosta.

"I think he has learned from Ozzie and he's a great leader of the scouts. It's Ozzie's department, but most of the interaction with all of the scouts is with Eric," Bisciotti said. "I've seen the way he goes about the business. I've seen the way he's embraced technology and analytics. I like working with him. I think it's pretty evident by the fact that we were getting called every single year to try to get him, and it's a matter of it's time. There are people running other franchises that got the jobs because Eric wouldn't take it."

Bisciotti said then that the Green Bay Packers -- "the best job in the NFL" -- were interested in interviewing DeCosta for their GM vacancy, but that he declined. (Green Bay later promoted Brian Gutekunst to the position.)

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DeCosta has long been among the league's most coveted GM candidates. Over the past decade, he has spurned reported interest from the Packers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears (twice) and Indianapolis Colts (twice) to remain in Baltimore.

A former linebacker at Division III Colby College, Decosta has spent most of his professional career learning from Newsome. After an internship with the Washington Redskins in 1995, Decosta joined the Ravens as a scouting intern the following year, the franchise's first. He was hired as an area scout in 1997 and promoted to director of college scouting in 2003 and then to director of player personnel in 2009.

"Ozzie has taught me a lot about football," DeCosta said in April, after Newsome's last draft as GM, "but more about life."

DeCosta's dedication to the job -- a longtime friend told The Boston Globe in 2013 that DeCosta "works 20 hours a day and doesn't even care" -- helped the Ravens establish themselves as one of the NFL's premier organizations. The team drafted Pro Bowl players Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Sam Koch, Marshal Yanda and Ray Rice during DeCosta's tenure as scouting director.


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