The Baltimore Ravens have long been referred to as one of the better run organizations. Their success includes two Super Bowls and annually being recognized as one of the top contenders in the NFL.
Team President Dick Cass oversaw the Ravens over the last 18 years, but he told team owner Steve Bisciotti back in September that he was retiring.
The Ravens failed to make the playoffs last season after three consecutive appearances. Bisciotti wanted Cass to help pick the next person responsible for getting the Ravens back on track.
Cass took the responsibility on his own rather than hiring an outside firm. He instead consulted with NFL contacts.
“I spoke to someone at the NFL I knew, and I could trust, and I told him I was leaving,” Cass said earlier this week. “I said I would like for him to give me a couple of names of people that could be good candidates, either in the NFL office or at other teams around the league. He made some inquiries around the league and telling people he spoke to that an NFL team was thinking about hiring a new president. So, I came up with a list of names there. I spoke to [executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] about it. I spoke to [executive vice president and general manager] Eric [DeCosta] about it.”
There were a few prerequisites for Cass’ replacement. Bisciotti wanted the next team president to come from outside of the organization. He also wanted it to be someone who wouldn’t bring an entourage.
The initial list included six names which were eventually narrowed down to Sashi Brown. The Ravens organization was familiar with Brown, namely general manager Eric DeCosta and former general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Brown served as the executive vice president of the Cleveland Browns from 2013 – 2017. He essentially served as the Browns’ general manager in 2016 and 2017.
Cleveland finished with a 1-16 record in 2016 and an 0-16 record in 2016. Brown is eager to establish a new identity with the Ravens.
“I’ve certainly turned the page. I think it’s plenty time that we move on from that,” Brown said. “Today is really about Baltimore and the Ravens. I didn’t come out of or go into any opportunity looking for the next one. Every time that I go into an opportunity … This one is no different; I’m really focused here. That’s what I like to focus on and will continue to.”
Brown is the second black team president in NFL history. He mentioned how he looked at Newsome and former offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell among others as examples of how Baltimore has been a place that has given black men a chance to have significant roles and excel to the point of becoming champions.
Now that he’s in a significant role with the Ravens, Brown hopes his presence can open up a door to others in the future.
“I’m hopeful to the extent [that] you certainly want to see more balance and change and opportunity for women and others – minorities – and to the extent that my example can certainly open up some doors, then great, but I hope it’s not contingent upon the success of one individual,” Brown added. “I think this is something that we as a league, we as an organization need to be committed to, regardless of your background or color or gender. And we will do better here. It’s going to be a commitment. I know it’s important to [owner] Steve [Bisciotti], it was important to Dick [Cass], [and] that’s why Baltimore has been a model on this topic, and we’ll certainly continue to be under my leadership.”