Bill Belichick spotlights Ozzie Newsome for Patriots players
After New England beat Cleveland 38-15 on Sunday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick recommended his players return to the field on the bus route to take note of some of the names in the honor ring of the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, including former Alabama star Ozzie Newsome.
“Our players are very active in social justice and inequality and things like that,” Belichick said. “I told them how important five of these names are. They’re all great players and great people, so I’m not saying that. But there are five that for me really, absolutely stand out on Mount Rushmore of this conversation: Paul Brown for getting back into the NFL. He entered the NFL through the All-American Conference with Bill Willis and Marion Motley. So these three. Then, of course, Ozzie Newsome being one of the first black players at Alabama and one of the greatest – a great player, a great general manager, a great person. Then, of course, the great Jim Brown. He kind of stands above everyone else with what he’s done for equality, what he stands for, what he was as a football player, what he is as a that man.
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“Paul Brown took a lot of courage to do what he did. It took a lot of courage to do what Willis and Motley did. Lots of courage to do what Ozzie did. It took a lot of courage for Jim Brown to do what he did. I told them I thought they should go out there and think for a minute about some of the sacrifices these guys have made – not just on the pitch, not just as players, but as people and for this that they represented.
Before becoming New England head coach in 2000, Belichick held that position with the Browns from 1991 to 1995. Newsome was a member of Belichick’s first coaching staff after spending the previous 13 seasons as a winger tight from Cleveland.
Newsome caught 662 passes for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns, and he remains the Browns’ career leader in receptions and receiving yards. When Newsome retired, he had caught more passes than any tight end in NFL history, and only three wide receivers had more receptions.
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Newsome was the last member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade Team for the 1980s and a runner-up to the NFL 100 All-Time Team selected in 2019 for the league’s centennial.
Newsome had joined the Alabama Browns as a first-round selection in the 1978 NFL Draft. Newsome left the Crimson Tide as the school’s all-time leader in receptions, receptions yards and touchdown receptions, even though he played in a heavy triangulation offense.
Newsome was All-SEC in 1976 and 1977 and an All-American consensus receiver in 1977 for Alabama. During his career, the Crimson Tide posted a 26-2 SEC record, won three conference championships, and went 42-6 overall under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
When the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens, Newsome came with them as the team’s vice president of player personnel and de facto general manager. He didn’t officially take on the title of general manager until 2002, when he became the first African-American to hold that position on an NFL team. Newsome continued in this role until the 2018 NFL Draft.
Newsome has been a member of the College Football Hall of Fame since 1994 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1999, and he is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and Little League Hall of Excellence. , too.
Newsome was a three-sport star at Colbert County High School in Leighton.
Newsome helped Colbert County win the AHSAA Class 3A football championship in 1972, when the Indians beat opponents 520-109 en route to a 13-0 record. Newsome caught 80 passes for Colbert County that season, at the time the most in a season in state history. His 20 touchdown receptions in 1972 also set a state record, which he broke with 23 touchdown receptions in 1973.
Newsome was also on the Colbert County 3A basketball championship team in the 1971-72 season. He was the catcher for the 1973 baseball team that reached the state finals before falling to Chilton County. Newsome has won all-state honors in football and basketball.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.