Maxwell Football Club Announces Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome as the winner of the Francis “Reds” Bagnell Award for Contributions to Football.
The Maxwell Football Club (MFC), the oldest football club in America, announced today that Baltimore Ravens Executive Vice President and General Manager Ozzie Newsome has been selected as the winner of the 24th Francis “Reds” Bagnell Award for Contributions to Football. Mr. Newsome joined the Ravens organization in when the franchise was established in Baltimore and became the NFL’s first African-American General Manager in 2002.
Newsome was born on March 16, 1956 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and was the third of five children. After winning the state football championship in high school, Newsome decided to attend the University of Alabama and play for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. In four years with the Crimson Tide, he played in 48 straight games. During Newsome's time at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won three Southeast Conference Championships and he was a consensus All-America. Not only did he finish his college career with 102 catches and 2,070 receiving yards, he revolutionized the game. Historically, the tight end served as a sixth offensive lineman whom the quarterback could dump the ball to if he was in trouble. However, Newsome's size, speed, and soft hands gave him the ability not only to block, but also outrun linebackers and go deep. The Cleveland Browns were so impressed with Newsome that they made him their first-round draft choice in 1978.
After his rookie season in Cleveland, Newsome was named the Browns' Offensive Most Valuable Player, the first rookie in 25 years to accomplish that feat. He was named to the All-Pro team in 1979, an honor he would again receive after the 1984 season. In addition to these two all-league honors, Newsome was named to the Pro Bowl following the 1982, 1985, and 1986 seasons. During this period, the Browns played in three AFC championship games.
Newsome was not only talented, but extremely tough. In 1986, he won the Ed Block Courage award for playing in spite of injury and keeping his prolific receiving streak alive. He caught passes in 150 straight games, a streak that lasted almost a decade. After playing in parts of three decades, Newsome retired in 1990 after squeezing in one last honor--the NFL Players Association Whizzer White Award for community service. As offensive captain for the Browns, he racked up some startling achievements. Newsome played in 197 consecutive games, finishing his career as the most prolific tight end in NFL history. He made 662 receptions for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns. Perhaps the most amazing statistic is that in the last 557 times he touched the ball, Newsome did not fumble.
Following the end of his playing career, Newsome remained with the Browns first in a coaching role and then as part of the front office. When the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Ravens, Newsome moved with the team. He told the Associated Press that the decision was a difficult one, "With me, it was an opportunity as a minority to get one of the highest-ranking jobs in professional sports." As vice president of player personnel, Newsome is responsible for the future of the Ravens franchise. In four drafts, he selected three Pro-Bowl caliber players--Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, and Jermaine Lewis. While Newsome is proud of his role in Baltimore's success, he realizes that he must continue to produce and set an example of what an African American sports executive can accomplish. He told Thomas George of The New York Times about the pressure inherent in his job: "I've been evaluated all of my life, even though now my job is one of constant evaluation. There are blacks out there, former players and others, willing to climb their way up. A lot of people, owners included, are looking to see how I do. I am being compared closely with my peers."
Newsome’s career accomplishments are impressive and include:
- NFL’s First African American General Manager (promoted in 2002)
- Architect of the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl XXXV Championship Team
- NFL Executive of the Year (2000)
- Pro Football Hall of Fame (class of 1999)
- State of Alabama Hall of Fame (class of 1995)
- National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame and NCAA Hall of Fame (class of 1994)
- 13-Year NFL Tight End with the Cleveland Browns (1978-90)
- Three-Time NFL Pro Bowler (1981, 1984-85)
- Four-Time Cleveland Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year (1978, 1981, 1983-84)
- Current Member of Three Major NFL Policy-Making Committees: Competition, Diversity and Player Care Foundation Committees
“Ozzie’s accomplishments as a player at both the collegiate and professional levels are well documented, and he has continued his involvement in his post playing days as one of the top General Managers and Executives in professional football.” said MFC President Ron Jaworski. “He certainly has had a tremendous impact on the game on many levels and is most deserving of recognition as the winner of the Reds Bagnell Award.”
The Francis “Reds” Bagnell Award was established in 1989 by the Maxwell Football Club and named in honor of long time Maxwell Football Club president, Reds Bagnell. The award is given to an individual who through his efforts has helped to foster and promote the integrity of the game of football.
Notable past winners of the Reds Bagnell Award include; Archie Manning (National Football Foundation),George Bodenheimer (President ESPN/ABC Sports), Steve Sabol (President NFL Films), Ralph Wilson (Owner Buffalo Bills), Vince Dooley (Head Football Coach & Athletic Director University of Georgia), Darrell Royal (Head Football Coach University of Texas), Don Shula (Head Coach Miami Dolphins), Joe Paterno (Head Football Coach Penn State University), Art McNally (NFL Consultant), Lamar Hunt (Owner Kansas City Chiefs), and Pete Rozelle (NFL Commissioner). The full list of Bagnell Award winners can be seen at www.maxwellfootballclub.org.
Mr. Newsome will receive the award at the Maxwell Football Club’s 76th Anniversary Awards Gala that will be held on March 1, 2013 at the Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort. Event tickets will be available for purchase on the Maxwell Football Club website.
The Maxwell Football Club was founded in 1935 and is the oldest football club of its kind in America. The organization is devoted to recognizing excellence at all levels of football from high school through the NFL ranks. Under the stewardship of MFC President Ron Jaworski the Club has grown rapidly and has members in 40 states. The MFC provides educational and training programs for players and coaches, and also provides scholarships to outstanding student-athletes who demonstrate excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Information of Maxwell Football Club membership can be seen at www.maxwellfootballclub.org. Questions concerning the Bagnell Award should be directed to MFC Executive Director Mark Wolpert firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Club’s offices at 215-643-3833.