Q&A with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti

Owner talks about winning it all, tough offseason decisions and the future for the Ravens

  • Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti arrives for the 2013 NFL meetings in Phoenix.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti arrives for the 2013 NFL meetings… (Casey Sapio, USA TODAY Sports )
March 18, 2013|By Jeff Zrebiec | The Baltimore Sun

PHOENIX — It has been six weeks since Steve Bisciotti stood on a podium at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and raised the Lombardi Trophy aloft, celebrating his team's 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and his crowning achievement as the Ravens' owner.

Since then, he has been touched by the numerous emails and phone calls that he has gotten from fellow owners and buoyed by the belief that the Ravens continue to do things the right way. He shared the victory with many, recently buying two motorcycles for the Baltimore City Police Department after doing the same for officers in New Orleans who took care of the team during Super Bowl week.

But like coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the organization, Bisciotti has already turned his attention to next season and moving on from the recent losses of several key performers on the title-winning team.

Looking tanned and relaxed in black slacks and a black-and-white dress shirt, Bisciotti sat down Monday with The Baltimore Sun at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the site of this week's NFL annual meetings. He discussed the loss of Anquan Boldin and several other free agents, the futures of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis and his expectations for the organization going forward.

What have the last six weeks been like for you after winning the Super Bowl?

It's just the validation that the decisions that we make — as tough as they are — can result in a championship. So I'm not long-winded, that's it. We are in a business where we are questioned constantly and critiqued and disparaged because of the tough decisions we have to make. So it's history-making. It's nice to bring a championship to Baltimore and as a life-long Baltimore sports fan, I know what it means. I still remember where I was in '83 with the Orioles when Eddie Murray hit [two] home runs. It's a special feeling and it builds the pride in Baltimore. It's a great feeling when, in the league circle, they appreciate the way we do business. They wish it was them, but I think that there are some out there that are happy we got rewarded for doing things the right way.

Was there a time late in the regular season where you doubted this team could win a Super Bowl?

No, I didn't. We're somewhat insulated from that gloom and doom. We don't have time to deal with it. We're not changing because of gloom-and-doom, perceived weaknesses that we have. We've seen us click, we saw them click from Week 1 to the Giants game when we needed to secure a playoff berth. I had faith that we were getting healthy and getting better as a team. I didn't think the road to the Super Bowl was going to be any more difficult than it was the year before when it ended in New England.

You guys made it clear that you expected to lose some players and you weren't going to make the same mistakes the organization did last time it won the Super Bowl. But was the last week or so still difficult to see guys leave?

Yeah, it's very difficult but we've had some experience with this, going all the way back to releasing Jamal Lewis. That is singularly the toughest thing you have to deal with as a business man, that people who get successful get rewarded not by you but by other teams. It will always be the most difficult part.

Did having to trade Anquan Boldin because of salary cap reasons really hit you hard?

It did and more so, because in order to create cap room, we had to ask him to take a reduction. In [Paul] Kruger and [Dannell] Ellerbe's situations, they were unrestricted free agents. To clean up our salary cap every year, it's the ones that you have to release as opposed to the ones that are unrestricted. Those will always be the toughest ones.

Is it tough to balance looking into the future rather than pulling out all the stops to keep a Super Bowl-winning team together?

No, honestly, that's what makes it easy. This is as simple as your family budget. There's a way to keep things rolling. There's a way to do it: it's putting it all on the credit card. That is the one thing that we as an executive group all agree, that you want to take this heat in the offseason. Though it seems dramatic, it is no different than the last two years. We are staring at four compensatory [draft] picks because we made the same tough decisions last year.

Do you sympathize with the fans who see so many key players leaving and wonder if the team is rebuilding?

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