Ravens ready to promote Savage

Top scout to be named player personnel director

Second in command under GM

Kokinis, DeCosta move up in front office reshuffling

February 04, 2003|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Phil Savage will be named the Ravens' director of player personnel today, a promotion that makes him second in command under general manager Ozzie Newsome, a league source said.

Formerly the Ravens' director of college scouting, Savage will oversee the college and pro personnel departments. The move will be officially announced today. Ravens officials declined to comment yesterday.

The Ravens also will name George Kokinis pro personnel director and Eric DeCosta director of college scouting. Kokinis, who had drawn interest from other NFL teams, had been the team's assistant pro personnel director, and DeCosta headed its Midwest scouting.

The first reshuffling of the Ravens' front office since winning the Super Bowl in January 2001 was prompted by a recent reversal.

Nearly three weeks ago, Savage was close to a deal to be named the Jacksonville Jaguars' vice president of player personnel, but money - reportedly one-third less than Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio's $1.3 million annual salary - and restricted powers caused him to break off negotiations.

After being turned down by Savage, the Jaguars hired Ravens pro personnel director James Harris.

As a result, the Ravens managed to hold onto the more pivotal front office commodity and rewarded Savage with a newly created position that should keep him here for the foreseeable future.

Savage, 37, worked his way through owner Art Modell's franchise from the bottom up.

In 1991, he joined the Cleveland Browns after a monthlong stint as the tight ends/running backs coach for the San Antonio Riders of the World League. His first three years with the Browns were spent analyzing game film into the early-morning hours as a defensive assistant.

Savage then took on added duties in the personnel area when he began scouting college players while still compiling scouting reports on opponents. When the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996, he was named director of college scouting.

His eye for talent and feel for character played a major role in building the Ravens into a championship team in 2000 and into a playoff contender for the coming season.

In seven drafts with Savage at that position, the Ravens have selected five Pro Bowl players, including perennial All-Pros in linebacker Ray Lewis and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden. Of the 22 starters on last season's Ravens team, 17 were drafted by the team or signed as undrafted rookie free agents.

With his new role, Savage will become more involved in the administrative side and contract negotiations as well as have closer contact with the Ravens' coaching staff.

The Ravens' other moves maintain continuity by promoting two longtime members of the organization.

Kokinis, 35, completed his third season as assistant pro personnel director and was integral in the advance scouting of Ravens opponents. Before moving over to the pro side, he had been the team's Northeast area scout from 1996 to 1999.

DeCosta, 31, had been the area scout assigned to 45 schools in the Midwest, covering teams in the Big Ten, Big 12 and the Mid-American conferences. He joined the Ravens as a scouting intern in 1996 before becoming a full-time scout.

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