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Ravens believed to be the first team in NFL history to have an all-African American quarterback room

More than just a nice training camp story, it’s a sign of meaningful progress and proof that times are changing.

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens are no strangers to being at the forefront of making history when it comes to putting African Americans in positions of great power, influence, and prestige.

While they are only one of 13 teams that have yet to employ a black head coach, they’ve only been around since 1996 and have had just three head coaches in franchise history. However, they were the first organization to ever name an African American as their General Manager when they promoted Ozzie Newsome from vice president of player personnel to their official head front office executive in 2002.

For the past two seasons, the Ravens have carried two black quarterbacks on their active roster to start the regular season. That trend will continue this year as both Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley are back and they even added a third in 16-year veteran Josh Johnson.

What makes this year’s quarterback room historic is that it is believed to be the first in NFL history to entirely consist of African Americans which includes Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin and Assistant Quarterbacks Coach Kerry Dixon.

Baltimore Banner’s Kris Rhim wrote an eloquent and thoroughly reported article on the topic during training camp last month when he spoke to several members of the history-making group including Martin and Johnson as well as an early pioneer of the game in Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.

“What the Ravens have right now is definitely groundbreaking, even in 2023,” author of Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America, Jason Reid told Rhim. “The significance of it is that we are now in the era of the Black quarterback in the NFL.”

Now that their regular season opener is just days away and the roster is set, what many believed would never be possible is truly starting to become a reality.

Throughout the history of the league and even through the first two decades of this century, African Americans were discouraged and blatantly prevented from pursuing professional careers playing or coaching the quarterback position.

The reasoning and rhetoric behind their exclusion from being involved with the most important position in all of sports was deeply rooted in the racist stereotypes associated with African Americans at the time the league was created and the decades that followed.

For over 100 years, African-American players at every level of the sport were encouraged or told to switch positions because it was widely and falsely believed that they didn’t possess the intellectual capacity or mental fortitude for the rigors that came with being a quarterback.

Over that same period of time and to this day, melanated were and are still being passed over and overlooked when it comes to opportunities to coach the position. In today’s NFL where offense reigns supreme and the quickest path to becoming a head coach or offensive play caller is to be directly involved with coaching and developing quarterbacks, not being given that chance prevents aspiring coaches from moving up the ranks and achieving their career goals.

Hopefully, the Ravens being trailblazers in this way will inspire other franchises to be more open and receptive to what have long been the norms when deciding who can groom the next generation of black quarterbacks. They’re not going anywhere and their numbers will only continue to grow now as the game evolves and requires the best athletes to play its most important position and they see players that look like them playing it at the highest level.