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Former GM Scott Pioli believes Ozzie Newsome is worthy of being inducted in the Hall of Fame a second time

The Ravens’ Executive Vice President has strong case to be enshrined again and have two busts in Canton for his career at the helm of the team’s front office.

SPORTS-FBN-RAVENS-DONATION-BZ Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Before current Baltimore Ravens Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome made history by becoming the first African American to ever hold the role of General Manager of an NFL franchise, he put together a Hall of Fame career as a player.

He spent 13 years playing tight end for the Cleveland Browns from 1978 to 1990 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the 1999 class alongside fellow legends Lawrence Taylor and Eric Dickerson.

Former long-time league executive and general manger Scott Pioli worked alongside Newsome when he made the transition from a player to joining and eventually leading a front office with the Browns who would relocate to Baltimore in 1996 and become the Ravens.

“I was so fortunate to be with Ozzie when he transitioned from the time as a player and then five years later becoming the head of an organization,” Pioli said Monday in an appearance on Good Morning Football. “(I) watched him develop into a leader. Not the football leader on the field but the leader in the front office and decision maker.”

Pioli had an article published on Monday in which he wrote about how his longtime friend and former colleague deserves to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame twice because of his legendary post-playing career as head executive.

“As impressive as his TE tenure was, Newsome’s second NFL act as a vital figure in the Baltimore Ravens’ front office for more than two decades deserves equal — if not greater — praise,” Pioli wrote.

Newsome’s impact on not just the Ravens but the league as a whole after he hung up his cleats far surpasses any accolades he accumulated as a player. He was the architect of two Super Bowl winning teams and help build playoff contending teams for the vast majority of his tenure as general manager from 2002 to 2018 although he didn’t officially receive the formal title until, Newsome was the vice president of player personnel from 1996 to 2001.

“With that in mind, I strongly believe Ozzie should be the first person inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame TWICE, with the second ceremony honoring his trailblazing work in Baltimore’s front office,” Pioli wrote. “He truly deserves it — there’s no debate to be had.”

Newsome’s first two draft picks would eventually join him in the Halls of Canton as first ballot inductees—Jonathan Ogden (2013) and Ray Lewis (2018). They were followed by Ed Reed in (2019) and some other recently retired players that will likely be enshrined someday include Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Marshal Yanda.

“Under his watch between 1996 and 2018, the Ravens had the fourth-most playoff wins and the second-highest playoff win percentage of any team,” Pioli wrote. “He acquired 38 Pro Bowlers and 17 All-Pros, including six Hall of Famers, three of whom he drafted.”

Before he handed over the reigns of the team’s front office and mantle of general manager to Eric DeCosta— his protégée and long-time friend, Newsome had one last draft for the ages in 2018. Of the 12-man crop, nine have started 25 or more career games and four of the top three have become multi-time Pro Bowlers.

The most notable somewhat parting gift—although he’s still working within the organization in a different role—was selection of franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson. He would become just the second ever unanimous league MVP in his first full season as a starter and held the title of highest-paid player in league history until last week when the Los Angeles Chargers topped his deal with the one they gave to Justin Herbert who is far less accomplished.

Pioli acknowledged that there are inductees who have been enshrined based on the collection of contributions that they made to the game such as the late George Halas who was a player, coach, manager and owner that was a part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1963.

However, he’d like to see Pro Football Hall of Fame should follow the example of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who has five individuals inducted once as a player and a second time as a coach— Bill Russell, Lenny Wilkens, John Wooden, Bill Sharman and Tommy Heinsohn.

“Ozzie deserves the same kind of treatment as those legends,” Pioli wrote. “Newsome’s accomplishments as a Ravens executive are monumental.”