Jonathan Ogden will see a lifelong dream come true when he's inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Aug. 3.
And when that moment comes, he's chosen Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome to induct him into the Hall of Fame.
Ogden spoke to reporters in a conference call, and touched on a variety of topics that spanned his long career.
On his reaction to being drafted by the Ravens in 1996 and what he first noticed when he got to Baltimore: "There was some surprise, yes, because all the draftniks, all the people were saying that, ‘You were going to go to the Cardinals with the third pick. You are going to go to the Cardinals.' That was getting beaten into my head the whole time. So, when the third pick came up, and they picked Simeon Rice, I was a little surprised. I knew things could always happen, but I was raised to get up when I heard the phone ring in the green room.
"Then Baltimore came on the clock next, and I knew I had taken the trip down to visit them, and I was like, ‘Oh, you know. It seemed like an interesting organization because nothing was established yet.' When I got that call I was a little bit in shock, because one, I wasn't expecting to go to Baltimore and two, I didn't really know what to expect with Baltimore. After I talked to Ozzie [Newsome] and I talked to Mr. [Art] Modell, and I got an idea of what their plans were for Baltimore, I got excited after that. I said, ‘I'm going to be a part of something here, and I'm going to help us build a winner here.'"
On if getting ready for the induction this weekend has prompted him to do some reflecting on his career and what have been some of the most interesting things he has looked back on: "I definitely have been looking back on my career while doing this speech that I've been dreading that I am going to have to give. The one thing that I'm trying to wrap my mind around is giving that speech. I've never been that guy who likes to stand there and talk in public, but I'm ready to do it. But yes, I have definitely been doing some reflecting. My career was really solid. The one thing that I can say about my career was how I played really consistent football.
"I never really looked back and said, ‘Man, if I would have done this, that or the other...' I always felt like I gave my all, and I was always consistent out there. I think that's kind of what led me to become a great player. This game is about consistency at the end of the day. I think that's probably about it there."
On who will be presenting him at the Hall of Fame: "Ozzie Newsome."
On why he chose Ozzie Newsome to present him: "I chose Ozzie [Newsome], because he brought me in to Baltimore. I respect him, and we work well together. I could always go talk to him, be honest with him, and he's just one of the people that I really respect in the business. It just kind of made sense to me."
On how much influence some of his old coaches had on him as a person and as a player: "When you look back at it, it's kind of funny. A lot of this stuff is in my speech, so you will get to hear it again. Definitely St. Albans had a huge influence on me. Skip Grant really kind of was one of the first people - honesty, integrity - really ... He walked it and lived it. You know the man, so you know who I'm talking about.
"You know Dick Allanson - these guys really taught you good lessons in life. St. Albans taught you a lot. [They] taught us how to think for yourself, how to become a better citizen, and those are lessons that I definitely took. It's kind of strange, yes, being one of the ... I guess I am St. Albans' first Hall of Famer. (laughing) I don't think they have any other ones. It's nice to bring some recognition to the school. I'm glad that I could do that for them, because they did so much for me."
On what he most wants to be remembered for and what his dad's thoughts would be about him being inducted: "On the football field, I just want to be remembered as the guy who was dependable, who was a good teammate, who didn't go out there and make silly mistakes, you knew he was going to be there game-in game-out, day-in day-out, had his teammates back out there.
"My dad would be very ... He would enjoy this day coming up. He was the guy who I wanted to be like growing up. I modeled playing after him. He knew that, and I'm just glad that he at least got to see most of my career. He didn't get to see all of my career, but he got to see most of it. And, he also got to see his grandson, too. That's the positives that I can take from it that he at least got to see some of those things."
On if he can still see his dad at St. Albans watching him from the sidelines with a huge umbrella: "Yes, I couldn't get to football practicewithout that man. He would come pick me up every day, and he would come out to the games no matter what the situation was just to be there. Never really pushed me, but was always encouraging me. He wasn't one of those parents who made me do it, but he kind of always had that encouraging word for me about just trying to stick in there, just keep your chin up. Times get tough, especially when you're young. You're a young man starting in the game, and you don't know if you really love it. He kind of kept me going on that path."
On if there was ever a time where he went to his dad and told him that he didn't think he could continue to play football and his dad talked him back into it: "No, there was never a time that I said that. I think I would have been let him down too much if I said that. But, when those days, when it's tough, you are just like, ‘Man, this is ... I don't know. There's nothing worth having that's easy.' You just have to keep on pushing. If you enjoy the game, you have to work for it. It made me realize that."
On what it was like for him getting inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Ravens winning the Super Bowl in the same year: "That was really just one of those things ... You look at it, and you're like, ‘This can't really be happening.' It just seems like a storybook, like somebody really isn't going into the Hall of Fame while their team is playing in the biggest game on the planet in one of the best towns on the planet in New Orleans. And that ovation that I got at the coin toss was unbelievable.
"Then the whole drama of the game ... We end up winning. It could not have been a better weekend. I told them the only thing that could have made the weekend better is if Art Modell would have gotten into the Hall of Fame with me at the same time. That was the only thing that could have been better. Everything else was perfect. You get very few chances in life to say that. I enjoyed that weekend."
On how it feels to be the Ravens' first overall pick and first original Hall of Famer: "It feels great. When I was playing, I was just out there working. I couldn't help the fact that I was the Ravens' first pick. It just kind of happened, and in my mind, all I wanted to do was help the guys win and go out there, so I don't look at it in that perspective. When I do step outside of myself and look at it, it's like, ‘Wow, that guy - he had it pretty good,' (laughter) if that makes sense. It's hard in my own perspective to view it that way though."
On how his football IQ impacted his game and if he still has his notebook of opposing pass rushers: "No, the notebook disappeared a few years ago. I don't know what happened to it. They always say [that] the quarterback and offensive lineman need to be the smartest - quarterback maybe, but O-line definitely. It's all about how quickly you can read and process what's happening on the field and understand what the defense is trying to do to you. Where is that safety rotating down from? Where is that linebacker, the lineman - is he inside? All these things that, when you play long enough, you can get a tip, and when you can get a tip, you don't hesitate. So definitely, the smarter you are, the less hesitation you have in what you're going to do, the better football player you're going to be. I always prided myself on never hesitating, because I always knew my assignment."
On where his football knowledge and instincts came from: "Part of it is natural. There's no doubt about it. But I also had really good coaching in high school. My line coach - a guy named David Mohler - he played at St. Albans, but then he went to North Carolina. Harris Barton was one of his teammates, and he got a lot of his information when he was there, and he brought that to us when I was at St. Albans. So, I never had to really unlearn bad habits. I always knew how to keep a wide base, try to keep my back straight and my head up - all the things that people take for granted that you should know how to do. But I never had to unlearn any of those bad habits that a lot of people had. So, when I got to UCLA, my football IQ was more advanced than some other high school guys because I had tremendous coaching. I want to thank him for that. I can thank him in my speech."
On what his career plans are for the next five years: "At the present time, I enjoy - because we have an 18-month-old daughter and an 8-year-old son - I'm enjoying just being the dad, staying at home. In the near future, I still have my foundation work as well, in Baltimore. That's not to say I'm not looking to expand and do a few more things. Exactly what?I'm not sure, but I'm sure things will pop up. As of now, I'm definitely very happy in the life that I'm living because raising children is hard work.(laughter) They're tough little [rascals], and you have to stay on top of them." (laughter)
On the influence of UCLA track and field coach Art Venegas: "He was great. That guy - he was a no-nonsense type of guy. He would just say, ‘Look, this is what I need out of you, and you need get it done.' There are no excuses to be made with Art. He definitely taught me a lot about life, and we had a lot of interesting times throwing the shot with that guy. Next to Terry Donahue, he's probably my most influential coach in college, for sure. Terry Donahue is No. 1, but Art Venegas is definitely No. 2."
On his relationship with Art Modell: "Art was just ... It's unbelievable how the first time I met him, how nice the man was. It was about football, yes, but he also wanted to know about you the person. Like, ‘How are you doing, how is the family?' He was always just concerned about that. When you get genuine, nice people, you just want to try to win for them. I can remember when we won that Super Bowl, how happy he was. We wanted to win for Art because of the things that he had done for us and for the cityand for the way he was vilified. We all know that when you talk about genuine people, he's up there. He's got to be near the top of the list. I just wish that people would not hold the whole Cleveland thing against him,because he's done so much for the league. Hopefully one day, we'll get him recognized again."
On his thoughts about Ravens fans and interacting with them at his induction ceremony: "Oh, they're crazy - in a good way. (laughter)We've got really some of the best fans in the NFL. I'm just really looking forward to ... This moment isn't really - it's for me, yes, but it's for the fans. I played the game because we have such tremendous fans, [and] that's why we play so hard out there. And just to get the opportunity to be amongst them, and just to thank them for the years of support, I'm really looking forward to it. I really want to share those moments with those guys, because at the end of the day, the fans are the ones who pay the NFL some bills [and] keep the league afloat. You definitely have to appreciate them, especially when they're as loyal and as great as the fans in B-more are."
On what people can expect to see from his foundation over the next couple of years: "We're going to try to do a few more programs. Right now, I can't tell you off the top of my head exactly what, because right now, I've just been so focused on getting ready for this Hall of Fame [induction ceremony]. But we definitely plan on continuing to do the same things we have and trying to upgrade this year. We had to help a community center by getting computers put in there. We're going to try to do a few more things - just whatever is necessary. We're a small foundation, but we try to do what we can, when we can. Whenever we have the opportunity to grow, we try to take that."
Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt