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Bill Belichick reminds Baltimore that he provided Ravens draft pick for Ray Lewis

The best defensive player in the history of the Ravens wouldn’t have played for Baltimore without an assist from the Patriots head coach.

In 1995, the Cleveland Browns announced they were moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens. At the time, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held the same position with the Browns. Cleveland had won a playoff game in 1994 and were considered a Super Bowl favorite in 1995, but started the season off 4-5.

On November 6th, 1995, Browns owner Art Modell announced the team was moving to Baltimore. Cleveland won just one more game over the final seven and Belichick was fired.

The Ravens media asked Belichick if ever reflected on potential success if he stayed with the Ravens through their transition.

“I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, no,” Belichick said on Wednesday. “I try to think ahead and make the best of the situation that I’m in, which is what I tried to do when I was in Cleveland. I took a team that wasn’t very good in 1991, prior to free agency and all of that, had a real good team in 1994. The team moved in 1995.”

In 1995, Belichick was preparing for the future with Cleveland and he traded his first round pick in the 1995 NFL Draft for three picks and a 1996 first rounder. Belichick never got to use that pick, but the Ravens did on future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis.

“We made a trade that provided two first-round picks that [Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome] did a great job with,” Belichick said. “Ozzie and Ray Lewis were two of the cornerstones of that eventual championship team.”

The other first round pick that the Ravens had by virtue of their terrible 1995 record was used on Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden. But without Belichick, the Ravens wouldn’t have been able to draft the best linebacker of the past 20 years, who anchored two Super Bowl titles.

Another fun fact: when Belichick was fired, he rejoined his mentor and then-Patriots head coach Bill Parcells. The Patriots were coming off a 6-10 season and wanted to improve their linebacker position. Belichick scouted Ray Lewis before the draft and the Patriots were going to take him in the second round at 36th overall if he were still on the board.

Instead, the Ravens drafted Lewis in the first round and the Patriots wound up drafting 2-time All Pro SS Lawyer Milloy. And even though Parcells and Belichick missed out on Lewis, they still addressed the linebacker position in the third round of the draft.

The pick? Tedy Bruschi.

Looks like everyone left the 1996 NFL Draft happy with their selections, thanks to Belichick.