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It's not easy succeeding a legend, and look no farther than the New York Jets. They've spent the past four decades looking for the next Joe Namath.
And they're still looking.
So you have to feel for the individual following Ozzie Newsome as Baltimore's next general manager, and, Eric DeCosta, come on down. The team's current assistant GM, DeCosta is one of the NFL's most astute talent scouts, held in such high esteem that he's had multiple opportunities to leave the Ravens.
Nevertheless, that won't ease the pressure he'll assume when he takes over for Newsome after the 2018 season -- mostly because his predecessor is regarded as the best GM in the business and the glue that held the Ravens together the past two decades.
So the bar DeCosta faces isn't just high; it's steep.
"I agree," DeCosta said on the latest Talk of Fame Network podcast, "and there would be people out there who think I'm nuts. (But) I study a lot of these types of situations, and it's like Tim Cook at Apple replacing Steve Jobs. It can be done, but it's very challenging. And Tim Cook is somebody I admire for what he's trying to do at Apple, and he gives me a little bit of hope that I can do it.
"Because it is a big challenge. Fortunately, I really believe in what we do, and I'd be a fool to try to, basically, re-invent the wheel and make major, drastic changes. That's just not the way that we operate here in Baltimore."
And for good reason. Nobody was better at the NFL draft than the Ravens under Newsome, with the team scoring direct hits with his first two draft picks -- tackle Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis, both Hall of Famers. Under his direction, the team won two Super Bowls, went to four conference championship games and made the playoffs 10 times.
"We've tried to build a sustained culture over a period of time like some of our competitors," said DeCosta. "We've admired the Steelers, even though it's probably hard for me to say that. Teams like the Steelers who have been able to consistently win ... they do it a certain way. And we've tried to emulate that ... and I think we have to a degree. And I'm proud of that.
"So, in my situation, I'm trying to be patient like I know Ozzie would be patient ... Listen, the Ravens are going to be here long after I'm gone and long after Ozzie's gone, and it's all about people. I believe you win with people, and we've got a great staff ... we've got great employees here ... who can help me succeed and help us succeed.
"It's still the Ravens' Way of doing things, and I believe in that. Yes, big shoes (to fill). However, I believe in the people that are going to help me along the way, including Ozzie. I believe in Steve Bisciotti, our owner, and I really believe in John Harbaugh, our head coach. And I think we have the people here to succeed over the next 10, 15 to 20 years."
To hear more from Eric DeCosta, just click on the following link: