Ozzie Newsome Biography
There are players who are credited with changing their position on a football field: Lawrence Taylor; Dick Butkus, and Joe Namath to name a few. When you look at the Tight End position, Ozzie Newsome has to be mentioned in the same breath with those legends, as he is an icon at that position.
What many people did not realize is Newsome played both Tight End and Wide Receiver while in college. The Muscle Shoals, Alabama native didn’t have to drive very far to play his college ball as he was headed for Tuscaloosa to play for Bear Bryant. He would start all four years of his college career leading the Crimson Tide to a 42–6 overall record during that time. Newsome amassed 102 receptions for 2,070 receiving yards. His 20.3 average yards per catch was a Southeast Conference record, and he was named to the College Football All-America Team in 1977.
Newsome helped Alabama capture three SEC Championships, and as a senior in 1977, he was named team captain and the SEC Lineman of the Year, as well as All-America honors at WR.
He was named the Player of the Decade for the 1970’s and would be selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Nicknamed "The Wizard of Oz", Newsome was selected 23rd overall in the 1978 NFL Draft for the Cleveland Browns. He was named the Browns' Offensive Player of the Year his rookie year, the first time in 25 years that a rookie had received that honor.
He was named All-Pro the following year, and again in 1984. He would be named to the Pro Bowl in 1981, 1984 and 1985. In 1986, Newsome won the Ed Block Courage Award for playing with injuries, while in 1990 Newsome won the "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award for his community service.
Newsome played in 198 consecutive games in Cleveland, and caught at least one pass in 150 consecutive games, which was the second longest streak in the NFL when he retired. He finished his career with 662 receptions and 7,980 yards, both Cleveland franchise records, and 47 touchdowns.
In September of 2010, Newsome was selected in the first class of the Cleveland Browns' "Ring of Honor.”
In 1999 Newsome was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Not limiting his greatness to the football field, Newsom took his post football knowledge to the front office where he was named general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, making him the first African-American to occupy that position in the NFL. He started as the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, and is known as one of the more respected front office executives in the league.
However, just like his coach, Bear Bryant, when asked about possibly coming back to Alabama one day, he said, “People keep talking about me being the AD. If there's the opportunity to come back maybe to be the janitor at the University of Alabama, hey, I'll take that."
Ozzie Newsome has recently been named to our All-Time SEC Fantasy Football Team and All-Time NCAA College Football Fantasy Team. Check out our current Alabama Crimson Tide Football and Alabama Crimson Tide Football History page.
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