OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- On a day when the Ravens were set to introduce their two newest additions to the team -- safety Earl Thomas and running back Mark Ingram -- they opened a news conference with a surprise departure: Associate head coach and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg announced his retirement after a 40-year coaching career, the past 11 with the Ravens.
Rosburg will be replaced by Chris Horton, who has been a special teams assistant with the Ravens for the past four years, and part-time kicking specialist Randy Brown will be promoted to a full-time role.
It is a major loss for a Ravens unit that has consistently ranked among the best in the league in all phases, but Rosburg stressed that "Ravens special teams are in very good hands" with Horton and a specialist group -- kicker Justin Tucker, punter Sam Koch and long snapper Morgan Cox -- that Rosburg called "the best in the business."
Head coach John Harbaugh said, "There's no way we'd have anywhere close to the success we've had, we probably wouldn't even be sitting up here today," without Rosburg's contributions since 2008, when he joined Harbaugh's first Ravens staff.
In every year since 2012, Rosburg's unit has ranked among the top five special teams units in the league in the annual report by longtime NFL writer Rick Gosselin. The Ravens are the only team to be listed in the top five -- or even top 10 -- in each of those seasons.
"We've tried to build a program of special teams here and have it be part of the nature of the Ravens," Rosburg said. "And I'm proud to say that we've done that. I want you all to know too that the Ravens special teams are in very good hands.
"For the past four years Chris Horton has been a skilled, diligent, faithful assistant and very important in our success," he continued. "It's now his time."
Rosburg's departure marks the second by a Ravens coordinator since the season ended. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was replaced by former tight ends coach Greg Roman.
Citing the desire for more time with his family, Rosburg, 63, walks away from a coaching career that has spanned five decades at every level of the sport.
He broke into coaching in 1979 at Fargo (N.D.) Shanley High School after earning All-America honors as a linebacker at North Dakota State. During the next 20 years, Rosburg coached in the collegiate ranks, with stops at Northern Michigan, Western Michigan, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Boston College and Notre Dame before joining the Cleveland Browns as their special teams coordinator in 2001.
He moved to the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, then joined Harbaugh's first Ravens staff in 2008.
"John will no longer be my boss but he'll be my friend for eternity," Rosburg said.
"The reasons for my retirement are numerous," he added, "all of which are personal, none of which are professional."
He said he's looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Sherry, and watching his two younger children compete collegiately -- his son, Jerad, plays hockey at Michigan State and his daughter, Margaret, plays volleyball at Saint Louis University. His oldest daughter, Megan, played volleyball at American.
"I don't want to miss as many hockey games and volleyball games as I have," Rosburg said. "Our days are limited on this earth and there are some things that I'm missing that I don't want to miss anymore."
Known for his keen attention to detail, Rosburg was animated and could get fiery on the practice field, but he was nearly universally beloved by those same players whom he would very publicly castigate in practice. In addition to the specialists, fringe defensive players such as Anthony Levine and Albert McClellan thrived in Rosburg's punt and kick game schemes.
He also has also helped shape the Pro Bowl careers of specialists Tucker, Koch and Cox.
"It's not a coincidence that Ravens special teams really took off when these men came together, along with Jacoby Jones and Albert McClellan and many others," Rosburg said. "I'll carry with me many, many amazing memories of our experiences together."
Ravens special teams ace Chris Moore and former Raven Vince Mayle chimed in on Twitter after Rosburg announced his retirement.
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