Newsome not leaving for Browns, Cass says

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Jim Brown had endorsed him for Cleveland GM job

Savage could be candidate

Pro Football

December 17, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Ozzie Newsome will remain the Ravens' general manager and not become a candidate for the Cleveland Browns' vacancy, Ravens president Dick Cass said yesterday.

A Hall of Fame tight end for the Browns, Newsome was the architect of the Ravens' 2000 Super Bowl championship team. He was officially named general manager in 2002, although he had been in charge of personnel decisions for the Ravens since they relocated from Cleveland in 1996.

Under his direction, the Ravens have drafted nine Pro Bowl players in nine years and signed such key free agents as Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, Sam Adams and Michael McCrary. This year, Sports Illustrated ranked him 15th out of 101 on its most influential minorities list.

"Ozzie has told us that he is very happy with his job here in Baltimore," Cass said. "He is also under contract with the Ravens for several more years and is not free to talk to another NFL team."

Newsome, 48, was reportedly at the top of the Browns' list to become general manager and received an endorsement from Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

Because Newsome is under contract, the only way he could leave would be with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti's permission. Newsome is designated as the Ravens' top decision-maker, and under NFL tampering rules, he couldn't make a lateral move unless Bisciotti granted it.

Meanwhile, Ravens director of player personnel Phil Savage is expected to receive strong consideration in the Browns' search.

Savage has been linked with the Dolphins' front-office opening because of his longtime connection with Nick Saban, the frontrunner for Miami's head coaching job. But Saban likely will have full authority in personnel matters, and Savage would prefer to have the final say as a general manager.

J. Lewis still `achy'

Limited in practice for a second straight day, Jamal Lewis acknowledged that his right ankle remains "achy" and said he has had trouble making cuts.

But the All-Pro running back seemed convinced he could carry the load Sunday night in Indianapolis.

"If I was called upon [to run] 30 to 35 times, I can carry it," Lewis said. "It's no problem as long I can stay in there and stay hot."

There were no changes to the Ravens' injury report. Reserve linebacker Bart Scott (questionable, knee), who leads the Ravens with 17 special teams tackles, did not participate in all drills. Nickel back Deion Sanders (probable, foot) received his usual Thursday off.

Nolan enjoys it here

If Mike Nolan doesn't land a head coaching job this offseason, he said he would like to return as the Ravens' defensive coordinator next year.

"This is one of the best coordinator jobs in the league," said Nolan, whose contract expires this season. "I've been five places, so I got experience. This is a great job from the ownership to the players."

It's a numbers game

Ravens coach Brian Billick has proved to be a great motivator/psychologist over the years, but not a master mathematician.

Asked how he felt about Indianapolis being on pace to break the NFL single-season scoring mark, Billick said defiantly: "They're not on pace. They got a ways to go. That tells you how great that record is."

Actually, the Colts are averaging 34.9 points a game and are on pace to score 559 points for the season. That would be three more than the Vikings' record-setting 556 points in 1998, when Billick was the offensive coordinator.

Assistants could leave

Losing Jim Fassel could mean more than losing a consultant.

Billick said some of his assistants could join Fassel if he is hired as a head coach.

"I've got an outstanding staff, any number of which have some potential to go on," Billick said. "It does put the organization at risk. So, that's part of what my job is this time of year is preparing for those eventualities."

Fassel's contract with the Ravens ends Dec. 31, at which point he will be free to interview with other NFL teams. If the Ravens would make the playoffs, he could continue to assist them by signing two-day contracts or weekly ones.

End zone

Sanders created a stir with the New York Giants this week when he said on Sporting News Radio that playing them was like "playing against a team that couldn't wait until the season was over." He also described their offense as "predictable." ... Billick and Colts coach Tony Dungy were on the Vikings' staff together from 1992 to 1995. ... The Ravens are 32-15 in November and December since 1999, the third-best record in the NFL over that time.

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