Hall of Fame Tight End, Current Ravens General Manager, Ozzie Newsome Interview
Ozzie Newsome played college football at the University of Alabama. He is often considered the greatest tight end in school history. He entered the 1978 NFL Draft, and was drafted 23rd overall by the Cleveland Browns. He was one of the best tight ends to ever play the game and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of ’99. He has been the General Manager of the Ravens since 1996, and he is often referred to as one of the best GMs in the NFL.
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Announcement : Hello, my name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Hall of Famer, and Ravens General Manager, Ozzie Newsome. Ozzie attended the University of Alabama, and was later recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ozzie was drafted in the first round, 25th overall by the Cleveland Browns in 1978. He made the Pro Bowl three times in his career and he also made the All-Pro team seven times. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. After playing, he wanted to work in the NFL, and worked for the Browns for five years. He, then worked for the Baltimore Ravens and has been the General Manager since 2002. He is considered one of the best General Managers and one of the best tight ends in NFL History. Anyways, here is the interview with Ozzie Newsome and I hope you enjoy the collage also.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star?
Newsome : I would say Dr. J, Willie Mays, and Freddie Biletnikoff. I think they all excel in their specific position in their sports. I thought they did great things on and off the field.
Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?
Newsome : It was super. We went to the State playoffs during my sophomore year, and I was a starter. We won States my junior year, we went 13 and 0. And, my senior year, we lost two games and we didn’t make State, but it was great. My high school basketball team during my sophomore year, we won the state championship. During my junior and senior year, our baseball team went to the playoffs. High school was great.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from your days at Alabama?
Newsome : The biggest was my freshman year when we were playing Florida State. We were down late in the game. Florida State hadn’t won a game against us in about two years, I caught a bench route late in the fourth quarter that put us in position to kick the game winning field goal. I think that was the play that put me on the map.
Strauss : What was the most important thing you learned at Alabama that helped you in the NFL?
Newsome : I think… The team always has to be first. And, if you want to become successful at anything, it has to come from you. It can’t come from external sources.
Strauss : More moving onto the NFL, what was your draft day experience like?
Newsome : It was nerve-racking. When I got drafted there was no ESPN, there was no NFL Network, there was no national broadcast of the draft, and you just had to sit and wait by the phone. You didn’t know what pick they were at. So, it was nerve-racking twenty-four hours before the draft and then, up until I got the call.
Strauss : You played with the Browns throughout your career, do you have a favorite memory with the Browns?
Newsome : Yeah, I guess. The very first time I touched the ball with the Browns, I ran an in-around against the San Francisco 49ers and I scored a touchdown.
Strauss : People mention how you defined the tight end position, and you changed it for the NFL to what it is more like today. How do you define the tight end position?
Newsome : You know I think I how I defined it is, I think teams are now utilizing whatever strengths a player has. My strengths and abilities were in the passing game. I feel I could be a mismatch against linebackers and safeties. And, I think that has continued in the league when people try to pick your strengths and match them against other team’s weaknesses, and so regardless as a back, tight end, or receiver, or defensive lineman, outside pass rusher… People try to find a position where you can make the most impact in the game, and that’s what I was allowed to do.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite reception throughout your NFL career?
Newsome : Yeah, I do. We were playing the New Orleans Saints my rookie year. I ran some pattern into the end zone, and the quarterback just put the ball up where I was going to come down with it, or it goes out of bounds, and I went up and got it. I think that gave me the confidence that I could make all the plays in the league, like I had made in college and in high school. It also gave the quarterback and the Cleveland Browns all the confidence in that I could make the plays that they had drafted me to make.
Strauss : In 1999, you were inducted into the Hall of Fame, what was that like?
Newsome : I think there have been three special days in my life. One, was the birth of Michael [his son]. The other one was winning the Super Bowl in 2000. The third one was getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Strauss : The year you came to the Ravens, Ray Lewis came to the Ravens…
Newsome : Yes. Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis were our first two picks in the 1996 Draft.
Strauss : Are you the only person that has remained with Ray Lewis throughout his career?
Newsome : Yeah. I believe so.
Strauss : How much impact has Ray Lewis had on your career?
Newsome : Well, I think I’ve had the opportunity to watch Ray grow to where he is not only a great player now, he’s a great person. He’s an outstanding leader. He’ll be a future Hall of Famer.
Strauss : What’s it like being on the Ravens staff for fifteen years after playing for the Browns and being rivals?
Newsome : Each year we have to play the Browns at least twice a year, and it’s not the most fun times for me, being that I played fourteen years for the franchise, in that I’m working for this organization right now, my job is to help win the game. That’s what my intentions are, every time we play.
Strauss : People say that you’re the best GM in football, and that you draft on a best-available situation, not the biggest need, how has that helped you develop a competitive Ravens’ organization?
Newsome : I don’t think you get locked in. It allows you to be able to evaluate the draft, and to understand the type of players that can come in and be productive players for the Ravens. You don’t get locked in and say, “I need this.” Because if you lock yourself into the needs, you may be getting a lesser player.
Strauss : Which coach has had the most impact on your career?
Newsome : Bear Bryant. He had me from the ages of eighteen to twenty-two. I think the thing he taught me was not only good for the game of football, but also for the game of life.
Strauss : Do you have a specific charity you support?
Newsome : Yes I do. The name of my golf tournament is the Bridge Builder Golf Tournament. I have a golf tournament in Tuscaloosa. It supports the Girls and Boys Club and one of the YMCA’s in Tuscaloosa.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite quote?
Newsome : No, not really. I really don’t. I like several of them, but not really.
Strauss : What do you want your career to be remembered for?
Newsome : Hopefully for exceeding the expectations of myself and others.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Newsome : What is it… A Neapolitan. Is that right? That’s chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. It’s because I think am flexible and versatile.
Strauss : For someone who wants to play or coach in the NFL, what is the best advice you can give them?
Newsome : Try to gain as much experience in the high school level, the junior college level, and the college level. Get as much experience and learn as much as you can. Continue to try to grow.
Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Ozzie. I really appreciate it.
Newsome : Okay, thank you.
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