Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome turned 60 on Wednesday, which will cause many to ask a question that has become a frequent one in recent years.
When will Newsome retire?
At the end of the season, Newsome didn't seem close to stepping away from the game, especially after watching the Ravens struggle through a 5-11 season.
"Does a season like that [make me want to stop]? No, it motivates me more," Newsome said in January. "If and when I do decide to leave this organization -- whether it’s by my decision or Steve’s [Bisciotti, Ravens owner] -- I want this organization to be as healthy as it has ever been when I decide to step away.”
Newsome, the third-oldest general manager in the NFL, has built two Super Bowl teams with shrewd moves in the draft and free agency. Here's a look at the top five moments with the Ravens:
1996 draft: Newsome selected two Hall of Fame players in his first draft (offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden is already in and linebacker Ray Lewis will likely join him in 2018). He insisted on taking Ogden with the No. 4 overall pick even though owner Art Modell wanted running back Lawrence Phillips. Newsome convinced Modell by telling him that Ogden had a decent shot at going to the Hall of Fame. "What a Babe Ruth call that was," Modell said.
Making Rod Woodson his first big free-agent signing: It was a coup for Newsome to get one of the best players in Steelers history to come to Baltimore in 1998. Remember, the Ravens had won only 10 games in their first two seasons. The addition of Woodson legitimized the fledgling franchise. Woodson, who would eventually switch from cornerback to safety, became the voice of experience for the record-setting 2000 defense.
Trade with Atlanta in 1999: Newsome accepted the Falcons' offer to give up the Ravens' second-round pick in 1999 for Atlanta's first-rounder in 2000. It was a decision that rankled the Ravens' draft room because they had already used three picks in that draft to acquire players. When Newsome made the trade, coach Brian Billick and director of college scouting Phil Savage walked out in disgust. It was the only time Newsome went to a news conference alone. How did it work out? The Ravens used the Falcons' pick -- which turned out to be the No. 5 overall in 2000 -- on running back Jamal Lewis.
Drafting Ed Reed: Bisciotti learned early to trust Newsome. As the Ravens were about to make the No. 24 pick in the 2002 draft, the top two players remaining on their board were safety Ed Reed and cornerback Lito Sheppard. "We had Ed Reed above Lito and I said to Ozzie, ‘I don’t understand this,' " Bisciotti said. " 'If they both have the same grade, why would you not take a corner over a safety? It seems like that’s a more important position.’ Ozzie said, ‘Because I am true to my board.' " Reed became one of the best safeties to play the game, and Sheppard went to two Pro Bowls in his 10-year career.
Landing a franchise quarterback: The Ravens targeted quarterback Joe Flacco in 2008, but Newsome knew it was a better value to take him later in the first round. Baltimore traded from No. 8 overall to No. 26, picking up two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder. The Ravens later moved back up to No. 18 to assure themselves of getting Flacco and gave up one of those third-round picks. Still, how many general managers draft their eventual Super Bowl-winning quarterback while netting two draft picks?