Eric DeCosta is ready. Prior to the 2012 season Eric DeCosta ’93 was in demand as a possible general manager for several National Football League teams, according to Sports Illustrated. He had spent 15 years with the Baltimore Ravens, but his path to the GM post with that team appeared blocked by long-time GM Ozzie Newsome.
Before a possible departure, DeCosta was promoted to assistant general manager. So how will the promotion increase the skill set of DeCosta, 41, a former linebacker at Colby?
“The biggest thing is I have the opportunity to learn some of the big-picture things,” he said during training camp in August. “It gives me a chance to see things from a different perspective. I am excited to stay, hopefully to be the GM at Baltimore at some point in the future.”
“The Baltimore Ravens’ brand has grown to be one of the strongest brands in the NFL,” he added. “We have a tremendous stadium. We have fabulous training facilities. We have a great relationship with [sponsor] Under Armour and a strong roster of players. We have made the playoffs five of the last six years. I think the future is bright.”
DeCosta joined the Ravens in 1996, the team’s first year. He guided the college scouting department for six years and was promoted to director of player personnel in 2009, overseeing college and pro scouting.
“Being able to delegate is one [skill] I learned from Ozzie,” DeCosta said. “He steps back and lets people like myself do our jobs.”
During his tenure as scouting director, the Ravens drafted future All-Pros Terrell Suggs, Le’Ron McClain, and Haloti Ngata and quarterback Joe Flacco, who led the Ravens to within a play of the Super Bowl in 2011 (losing to the Patriots in the AFC title contest).
DeCosta said his promotion means he is more involved in salary cap issues and all facets of player personnel. He also said he needs to improve his knowledge of league-wide issues and some of the challenges facing the NFL, such as player safety and concussions.
“Safety is paramount. The clubs understand that. Our players are the future of the game, and we want them to remain safe. ... Without the players the league does not exist,” he said.
Another issue facing the NFL is the health and future of retired players, many of whom are left nearly crippled after playing the violent sport.
“The health of retired players is something the league has to spend more time looking at,” he said. “We have to make sure our retired players lead a healthy life after football.”
DeCosta said he is excited about his future with the Ravens but did not give a possible timeline for a GM move. “Baltimore has really become a home for my family. I can’t imagine leaving for another opportunity. It is the right fit,” he said.