When the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000, Steve Bisciotti was a minority owner, content to stay in the background and enjoy the week with family and friends.
Bisciotti completed the purchase of the franchise from Art Modell in 2004 and his team is back at the Super Bowl. Bisciotti arrived in New Orleans last night and again is adamant about remaining in the background this week. He did sit down for a 35-minute interview with select reporters this morning and discussed Joe Flacco’s future with the Ravens, his role in the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, and Modell’s Hall of Fame chances.
A fully story will be up on the site later, but below are his comments on a few topics:
On the perception that he’s uncomfortable in limelight: “If you are just a run-it-by-me guy, then I think that I am uncomfortable because it does Ozzie [Newsome] and John [Harbaugh] a disservice for me to jump into the limelight when all the work that they are doing is paid off. Yeah, I don’t really need to stand in front of people getting trophies when they’ve earned it. Do I feel ownership? Of course, I do. I am the owner. But ownership of the accomplishment, I think that they would tell you that I’ve given them some sound advice over the years and through this year to get to where they are on stage. So for me to jump in and hog the trophy seems a little disingenuous.”
On the possibility of Jonathan Ogden and Modell getting into Hall of Fame Saturday: “I think we can all agree that Jonathan’s probably a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I think we’re not going to have any trouble ushering him on. Art’s a different story. ... There’s a lot of worthy people that aren’t in the Hall of Fame yet. You look at those lists and the people that don’t make the cut to 15 and then don’t make the cut to five or whatever it is. Art’s not alone in his position of being on the cusp and hoping that he gets in. I do think he’s the most accomplished person in the history of the NFL that is not in. If the one reason for them not giving him the votes is because he moved the team, then I wish that they would at least acknowledge that though it was gut-wrenching for the Cleveland fans, it’s a part of the business.
It’s been done many times in the NFL. I believe there's two owners or maybe three that moved their franchises and did get into the Hall of Fame. ... I know he broke some hearts in Cleveland, but nobody knows all the details or knows the story. The animosity that Baltimore shows to the Irsays is something that I lived through and can understand. So I'm not asking Cleveland to understand. I'm not even asking Cleveland to forgive. I just know that Cleveland's rabid fans should not be the reason that they keep him out. Because it seems like a spite thing and not a legitimate 'let's look at the resume thing’ and that's really what I hope changes this year.”
On Joe Flacco’s expiring contract: “I think the holdup is money. I was made aware that he and his agent were real close with Ozzie [Newsome], and think that Ozzie has always come through and gotten the job done. We've never lost a great, great franchise player from the beginning. I'm just very comfortable that it will get done. The fact that we're offering more per year than the franchise tag, to me it can't be too far away if where we stopped last year, the annual average was higher than the franchise tag. It never got contentious, so I can't say cooler heads will prevail. It will just take time and we have the franchise tag available, so it's not going to be a March drop or dead (deadline). It's going to be a July drop or dead. I trust Ozzie that he and Joe are going to come to an agreement that Joe's happy with and I'm happy with. It would be unfair for me to throw the old 'how much money you get means how much less we can build a team around you.' That's kind of a crock. Because I think the difference between his numbers and Ozzie's numbers are enough for a backup safety. I'll let Bruce Laird come back and do it. He's crazy enough to do it.”
On safety Ed Reed who is also free agent: “First we have to find out where Ed’s head is. I think that win or lose Sunday, Ed needs a couple of weeks. By that time, we will have done our personnel meetings and our cap meetings and we’ll know what kind of deal that we can make Ed. I assume we’ll make a deal that we made with Ray [Lewis] a few years ago. If Ed wants to test the market like Ray did, that’s what we have to do. That’s the downside of being the financial boss that Ozzie has to deal with that.”
On whether he was responsible for Cam Cameron’s firing: “[I] categorically deny it. That’s what is so ridiculous. You can’t pat me on the back and say that I hire good people and let them do their jobs. And then one guy decides to say I pushed or forced John [Harbaugh] to do it. I don’t push or force John to do anything. John called me. I didn’t call John. He said he already spoke to Ozzie and was pretty sure he was going to make this decision and we spent a half hour on the phone.”
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