January 06, 2012

Baltimore Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta has declined the opportunity to interview for at least three vacant general manager jobs, deciding to stay with the only organization he has worked for in his 16-year NFL career, the Ravens announced Friday.

In return for remaining in Baltimore, and spurning the opportunity to interview for the open GM positions in Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis, it is believed the Ravens increased both DeCosta's salary and the length of his contract. DeCosta, 40, has been considered the heir apparent to longtime Baltimore general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome for several years, and is thought of as one of the most highly-regarded young personnel executives in the league. Friday's announcement likely solidifies him as Newsome's eventual successor, upon Newsome's retirement.

Earlier this week, the Rams, Colts and Bears all sought permission from Baltimore to interview DeCosta for their general manager positions, but the Ravens also worked to retain him, hoping to entice him to not take any trips to interview elsewhere. Oakland had also expressed interest in interviewing DeCosta, but the Raiders reportedly have hired Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie as general manager and are preparing to announce his arrival.

"Since this franchise started in 1996, we've established a strong history of retaining our most important executives, players, coaches and personnel experts,'' Newsome said in a statement. "Eric, who has had opportunities to interview with other teams recently and over the years, is another one we want to keep and will keep. He has chosen to stay with the Ravens, and we're excited that he will. He is a most valuable asset and will continue to help us win championships.''

This is the third time in recent years the Ravens have rewarded DeCosta recent with a better contract and/or increased responsibility in return for him staying with the organization. He considers the Ravens GM position his future dream job, loves working with both Newsome and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, and it was thought unlikely that a team would be able to lure him away from Baltimore.

The Ravens (12-4), the AFC's No. 2 seed, wanted to clarify DeCosta's status this week, because they have a first-round playoff bye this weekend and will open the postseason with a home game against a still-undetermined opponent on Sunday, Jan. 15. It is Baltimore's fourth consecutive season in the playoffs, which is now the league's longest current streak with Indianapolis missing the postseason for the first time since 2001.

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