The Houston Texans could end up interviewing 15 people or more for their vacant general manager opening, league sources said, but have one name at the top of their wish list -- Ravens Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome.
Newsome, 64, has spent his entire scouting/executive career with the Browns/Ravens, and his unique acumen and resume is something coveted by Texans owner Cal McNair and Jed Hughes, who is operating the search firm assisting with this search. Newsome stepped down as the Ravens general manager a few years ago, with GM-in-waiting Eric DeCosta deftly rising to the position, but Newsome remains very involved with the game and Baltimore's critical decisions and remains one of the key figures on the NFL's prestigious Competition Committee.
While some who know Newsome well believe he would never leave Baltimore, and if anything will one day take over a role in the athletic department of some sort at his beloved University of Alabama, sources said Houston's interest is real. Newsome would be a complete departure from the failed former model with Bill O'Brien as the head coach and GM, landing an executive of this magnitude would be a defining move for McNair, who is in unchartered territory as an owner since taking over for his late father. While it may be viewed as a longshot by many in NFL circles, some involved in Houston's process believe it's a shot worth taking.
Newsome does not carry the general manager title with the Ravens, and thus the Texans could request permission to speak with him for that opening. It remains to be seen if the Texans, under much scrutiny for their awkward front office models in the past, would have the wherewithal to put together the kind of structure and package it would require to get Newsome to even consider taking on a job like this again, but sources said landing him would be the primary objective of Hughes at this point.
The Hall of Fame tight end became the NFL's first African American GM in 1992, oversaw some of the most transformational drafts in modern history, and is an expert at organization building. The Texans have already interviewed Marvin Lewis, who has deep ties to Newsome, for their head coaching opening.