Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Quotes from Baltimore Ravens' Ozzie Newsome ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
QUOTES FROM BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA DAY
GENERAL MANAGER OZZIE NEWSOME
(on being behind in scouting for the draft and free agency) "We had a personnel meeting on Wednesday. So, we'll get back on Monday. Coaches will have one day to prepare for our personnel meeting and then we're off and running. Free agency will be here before we know it. We just have to play pickup. Everybody has to do a little bit extra, but I think we'll find a way and if it means we have to do this one more time, I'll take that."
(on Flacco's contract) "Well, Joe and I have a good understanding of where his contract is. People fail to realize that he was a dropped pass away from getting to the Super Bowl last year. So, what he did was just back up to what he did a year ago. He's doing a great job. He has great chemistry with Jim Caldwell. Hopefully, as long as I'm the general manager in Baltimore, he's the quarterback in Baltimore."
(on his transition from a player to a personnel executive) "I think the biggest thing is when you're dealing with the players you have to be truthful with them. They'll start to trust you if you tell them the truth. And sometimes you are telling them some things that they don't want to hear. But if you're very truthful with them - and a lot of what I do is that I had to evaluate how to pretend I wanted to block Lawrence Taylor or some of those other guys. As a player, you are evaluating talent while you are playing."
(on the offensive coordinator switch) "John Harbaugh and I were sounding boards for each other. This is something that was talked about for a number of weeks. I did have the background that I went through with Brian Billick when he let Jim Fassel go. So, I knew what questions to ask and what we needed to do. It's always the unintended consequences that we try to look after to make sure we're making a good decision."
(on Bear Bryant's influence on him) "You cannot find a player that played for Coach Bryant that wouldn't say the things he taught us while we were there are what we're living right now. It was all about the team. He never allowed anyone to become complacent. The man that I am right now, Coach Bryant had probably 80 percent to do with that, along with my parents."
(on Art Modell's influence on him) "No. 1, he was a great boss. And then, he gave me the opportunity to stay within the franchise and start to work. If you look at the game, he was a pioneer in just about everything that this game is about right now. It's unfortunate that he won't be alive when he gets the chance to go into the Hall of Fame. That's a shame."
(on Modell's Hall of Fame credentials) "What they have to do, like in any decisions you have to make, you have to look at the positives and the negatives. With him, I think the positives outweigh the negatives - the negative of the move. That's how I go about making decisions and that's how I hope the voters do it."
(on quarterbacks making it to the NFL from smaller schools) "I think the scouting is consistent throughout the league. I just think now there are more players that are playing at different levels of football. You have to be able to go and scout those levels. The other thing is that there are a lot of transfers. Joe (Flacco) went to Pittsburgh and then transferred out. I think three of the guys we drafted last year were transfers that went to major colleges, things didn't work out there, and they ended up going to smaller schools. You just have to do your homework. Football is football, regardless of what level you play at."
(on what he saw when he was scouting Joe Flacco) "Well, we had made enough mistakes on quarterbacks that we kind of had an idea of what we wanted to look for. The thing we saw about Joe - he had the physical skills, but he had a lot of poise and he was very accurate. The other physical abilities would take care of themselves."
(on the key to maintaining longevity as a general manager ) "I think it's having the right relationship with the coach, the owner and the president. I try to make myself available. I try to be very honest with any and everything that I try to tell them. They are my partners. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue and say, ‘OK, we need to do this, even though I don't agree with it.' There is a lot of give and take. Brian Billick and I were partners for nine years and we're still friends. You build a partnership just like I guess you do in a marriage."
(on outlasting many other general managers) "It goes with the quarterback. If Joe Flacco wasn't a very good quarterback right now, I'd probably be playing golf down in Alabama somewhere. It goes with the quarterback."
(on having an equal legacy as a player and as an executive) "I think there will be an emptiness as a player because I never played in the Super Bowl. I will never be able to go back and recapture that. But having the ability to have success on the field and off the field is going to match. I just wish I had a chance to play in the Super Bowl as a player."
(on what questions he asked John Harbaugh about changing offensive coordinators) "I had to ask him No. 1, why he wanted to do it. What was he seeing that was allowing him to have questions. Only he could tell me that. What was happening around the building, on the field, and stuff like that? I had to ask those types of questions."
(on setting an example for other African Americans) "When I first became a GM, I was on a radio show with John Thompson. He made the statement and it hadn't dawned on me. He said, ‘Now that you've become a general manager, other young African Americans will inspire to do that.' At that point, you go, ‘Well, yeah. Now that I've done it, somebody else can get a chance to do it.' That's the only time it's come about. To me, it's all about the challenge. And being the first - it just so happened when I was born, America started to change. So, I got a chance to be first because it changed. It's not that I was any better than anybody else, I just hit the cycle at the right time."