Ozzie Newsome of Muscle Shoals, AL played for Coach Bear Bryant from 1974-77. In his four years as a starter, the Tide went 42-6. His senior year his 804 yards led the SEC in receiving yards and he earned consensus All-American honors.
He was the Alabama Football Player of the Decade for the 1970s, the Birmingham Quarterback Club and the Atlanta Touchdown Club’s SEC lineman of the year in 1977, and is in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Newsome was the first round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 1978 NFL Draft. His 13-year NFL career included 191 starts in the 198 consecutive games in which he appeared. He still holds Browns franchise records for catches and receiving yards. Newsome is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Since 2002, he has worked as the general manager for the Baltimore Ravens. The team won Super Bowl XVLII under his leadership.
Howard Cross played for Alabama from 1986-1988 before being selected by the New York Giants in the 1989 NFL Draft. The New Hope, AL native was a standout blocker on both Ray Perkins and Bill Curry teams. He finished his Alabama football career with 41 catches for 459 yards.
His 207 games over his 12-year career are the most by any player in Giants history. He caught 4 passes for 39 yards in the Giants 1991 Super Bowl XXV win.
Since retiring in 2001, Cross has had a successful broadcasting career with the New York Giants Radio Network.
Bear Bryant’s playing career was solid but not particularly noteworthy, but if he hadn’t played for the Tide then who knows where he would’ve gone when Mama called.
He described himself as the “other end” playing with Don Hutson on Crimson Tide teams in the mid-30s. He was recruited out of Moro Bottom, Arkansas after leading his high school team to the 1930 state championship. He left high school before completing his diploma and had to finish high school in Tuscaloosa before he could formally enroll at the University.
Bryant was picked by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1936 NFL Draft but instead went into coaching, taking his first job as an assistant at Union College in Tennessee. The rest, as they say, is history. Bryant coached at Maryland, then Kentucky, then Texas A&M before Mama called and he came home to Tuscaloosa.