New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas is entering the NFL offseason of his life, but today we remember his beginnings.
Douglas, Christopher Johnson and president Hymie Elhai are currently working to find the team’s next head coach. It’s a decision that’ll significantly impact Douglas’s NFL career, and the Jets are leaning on his expertise.
Why not? He came to Northern New Jersey will all the credentials. He won two Super Bowls in Baltimore and another in Philadelphia. He learned under one of the greatest to ever do it on the field and in the front office, Ozzie Newsome.
The 2020 campaign marked Douglas’s 21st in the league. But like all veteran front-office execs, Douglas had to start somewhere, and that somewhere came in 2000 with the Ravens.
“The Turk,” as everybody knew him, was the man tasked with informing players that they just had been released. Douglas would send them to head coach Brian Billick, with their playbook, in order to receive their obvious yet frustrating fate.
Today's moment for Joe Douglas has been a two-decade NFL journey that began with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. "The Turk," as they labeled him, is shown here sending a player to his impending doom with Brian Billick on HBO's Hard Knocks. #TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/m19jmmKjfT
— Jets X-Factor (@jetsxfactor) January 6, 2021
This episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Baltimore Ravens was the first of not only the season but the series as a whole. It happened after the team’s first-ever Super Bowl win and prior to the 2001 season.
It’s exactly where Douglas began his NFL executive career. Coming from a clear personnel background, Douglas’s role was labeled as “Player Personnel Assistant” during that 2001 campaign.
He remained with the Ravens until 2015 when he took the Director of College Scouting job with the Chicago Bears. After a year there—while meeting the recently-fired Adam Gase in the process—he bolted for another promotion, Vice President of Player Personnel with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Douglas helped lead the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl win and the rest is history. Christopher Johnson gobbled him up in one of the better moves the Jets have made in quite some time.
Remember, Douglas isn’t an old man. He was in his mid-20s when “The Turk” label followed him around and he was forced to do the toughest thing in professional sports: cut a player. Or more descriptively, tell a man the paycheck that feeds his family stops cold or no longer has the potential to turn into something more beneficial with the organization.
On Wednesday, the Jets announced that they completed their interview with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
We have completed an interview with Eric Bieniemy for our head coaching vacancy.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 6, 2021
Although the interview wasn’t nearly as gut-wrenching as hit duties during his Hard Knocks days, the importance of the ongoing head-coaching-search process could end up defining Joe Douglas as an NFL general manager.