This Saturday in Canton, Ohio the NFL will honor Jonathan Ogden, one of the greatest linemen to ever play the game.
Ogden's legacy with the Ravens is extensive and impressive. He was the first player the organization ever drafted, having gone 4th overall in the 1996 NFL draft. The Ravens may not have ever won their first Super Bowl had they selected Nebraska running-back Lawrence Phillips over Jonathan Ogden. For that, Ravens fans have Ozzie Newsome to thank; he saw the potential in Ogden that would soon be realized on the field.
“Watching his career, being a part of his career, seeing how it transpired – he played at a Hall of Fame level," Newsome said. "He had the longevity. He played in and won a Super Bowl, but to be able to be there at the offset and then to be there [when] he’s going in, I don’t think I can put it into words. It’s so different. I guess all of us have – most of us – have probably had a child in your life, and [it’s like] watching a child grow up and then maybe seeing them go off to school for the first time.”
During his 12 years in the league he managed to make the Pro Bowl 11 times, won the Super Bowl in 2000, made the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and earned the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last year and had his #79 at UCLA retired. Over the 176 games he started in for the Ravens he recorded 7 fumbles, 2 touchdowns, and 10 tackles. He was a driving force for the Ravens both in the locker room and on the field and will be remembered for his radiant smile and distinguished laughter. Despite his size and intensity, Ogden always found a way to joke with his teammates and opposing players, especially after knocking them on their asses.
This Saturday Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, the same man that predicted Ogden's success 17 years ago, will present Jonathan Ogden as the first Baltimore Raven to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
“I chose Ozzie because he brought me in to Baltimore," Ogden said in a recent teleconference. "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.”