Steve Bisciotti Speaks & I Was Listening …..

February 04, 2010 |

Yesterday, the call finally came to the WNST bullpen.

After warming up longer than Mike Mussina, during the 1993 All Star Game, my name was called ….

I was headed to THE SHOW – at 1 Winning Drive, to cover the Baltimore Ravens’ season ending press conference. Indeed, with Glenn Clark, Drew Forrester and Nestor Aparicio in Miami, a substitute “insider” was needed.

I arrived at the complex with nearly an hour to spare and decided to absorb the surroundings. It’s a very impressive place – a warm and welcoming environment, but very professionally spirited, as well. I was quite impressed.

As the press conference kicked off, I decided to keep my mouth shut, while absorbing anything and everything said. For the most part, it was exactly what I expected. I don’t think anyone really learned anything NEW during the 50 minute session.

It felt like a regurgitation of pre-planned dialogue. In fact, if I would use one word to explain the nature of what came from the mouths of Steve Bisciotti (*during the scripted portion), Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh, it would be “SAFE” …..
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ON ADDRESSING “NEEDS” DURING THE DRAFT …..
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Ozzie Newsome : “We will not put need ahead of best player available.”
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ON THE LIKELIHOOD OF ED REED RETURNING NEXT YEAR …..
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John Harbaugh – “I believe Ed will play next year ….” “…. there is no better leader, player or guy on the football field, than Ed Reed.”
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ON THE $66 MILLION SPENT ON TERRELL SUGGS …..
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Steve Bisciotti - “…. showed up out of shape” “still a dominant player, he will be fine.”
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ON TROY SMITH’S TRADE REQUEST …..
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Ozzie Newsome – “I know Troy’s agent and he hasn’t contacted me.”
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However, after the “public” portion of the event, many media members milled around and talked a little further with Steve and John. Ozzie was gone quicker than Usain Bolt – on his fastest day. I’ve always heard he doesn’t like speaking to the media. I have absolutely no problem believing that rumor.

During this informal session of what felt like shooting the breeze, the Ravens owner certainly seemed more relaxed and revealing of his true feelings regarding an array of topics …..
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On Rex Ryan’s Recent Flashing Of The BIRD …… (specifically, he was asked if he “imagined” it would happen to Rex …..)
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Steve smiled broadly, hesitated for a second and said “maybe.” But, he was also quick to say “John’s the same way” ….. while gesturing to Harbaugh. He did playfully confirm that he would not be paying Rex’s fine.

I’ve interviewed enough people who have something to hide – from kids who’ve stolen Playboy magazines, to guys who smuggle hundreds of pounds of marijuana – and I’m rather certain Steve took the high road on this issue. If you’ve heard Drew speculate on the entire “Rex vs. John” comparison, I’m convinced he’s dead right. And, Steve wasn’t going to provide any fuel to the situation.

On His Feelings Regarding Major League Baseball’s Union and Labor Deal …..
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Steve said, “the genie is out of the bottle” – while alluding to a situation that cannot be reversed. I’m not certain this is such a good thing – but, when Steve was making some baseball-related comparisions, he suggested the Ravens need to be more like the “Oakland A’s.” Great …..

On His Feelings Regarding Art Modell And The Hall Of Fame …..
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Steve called Art “one of the 5 greatest owners in the history of the NFL.” On Cleveland’s stance on Art, he said “Baltimore feels the same way about Robert Irsay ….. if Baltimore builds Irsay a stadium, the Colts are still here and I’m not.”

He further suggested that Art’s albatross – the move from Cleveland really amounts to an off-field situation. Then, Steve made the comparison to other Hall of Famers, saying “writers overlook what Lawrence Taylor did off the field.” And, he cited Al Davis moving his team TWICE, yet, being a Hall Of Famer. On the comparision, he finished up by saying, “T.O. will get in.”

Most importantly, Steve made a plea for VOTER ACCOUNTABILITY among those who cast ballots for Hall Of Fame induction.

I found him to be very earnest and thorough on his feelings. Selfishly, I wish he spoke more often !!!!

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