When the Baltimore Ravens' 2018 season comes to an end -- whether it's another Week 17 departure or a deep playoff run -- Ozzie Newsome will step down as the Ravens' general manager after holding the title since 2002.
Former Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley is one of the many players positively affected by Newsome's tenure, and Stokley will be sad to see Newsome step down after all of his contributions to the sport.
"He's a legend, obviously as a Hall of Fame football player, but also a general manager," Stokley
on Glenn Clark Sept. 20. "For as long as he's done it and for as much as he's done for the Ravens and Baltimore, he's just such a special man and a guy that I'll always be indebted to and thankful for."
Newsome was a front office executive when the Ravens selected Stokley in the fourth round out of the University of Southwestern Louisiana in the 1999 NFL Draft. The receiver spent the first four years of his career in Baltimore and won a Super Bowl with the team in January 2001. Stokley caught three passes for 52 yards, including a 38-yarder for the game's first touchdown during Super Bowl XXXV.
He joined the Indianapolis Colts after four years in Baltimore but was thankful he was able to begin his long career with the Ravens.
"To draft me to the Ravens and spend my first four years in that great organization, that great city," Stokley said, "I couldn't ask for anything more."
Stokley was bounced around for the rest of his career. After four years with the Colts, he played three seasons with the Denver Broncos. Then, the final four years of his career all happened in a different city. He went from the Seattle Seahawks to the New York Giants and back to Denver before getting the opportunity to rejoin the Ravens in 2013.
Stokley was thankful he was able to end his 15-year NFL career with the organization that drafted him. A lot of the credit falls on Newsome, who played a large role in re-signing him for the 2013 season.
During his final season, Stokley missed several games with a groin injury before being placed on injured reserve Dec. 10 for a concussion. Despite the pair of injuries, his farewell season back in Baltimore was a positive experience.
He finished his career with 397 receptions for 5,339 yards and 39 touchdowns, winning Super Bowls with the Ravens in 2001 and the Colts in 2007. He's been out of the league for nearly five years now, but he's still going to be upset when Newsome's time as general manager soon comes to an end.
"It's sad because Ozzie's done so many great things," Stokley said. "He's the one that gave me my opportunity. I'll be indebted to him for drafting me and getting me again in 2013."
To hear more from Stokley, listen here:
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox