Jonathan Ogden is the original Raven, the first draft pick in franchise history has a good shot to be the first true Raven inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hall of Famers Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson and Deion Sanders were Ravens but spent a good portion of their careers in other places. Not Ogden from his first day to his last it was all Baltimore.

While most of us who watched his brilliant career feel he’s a first ballot slam dunk I’d say pump the brakes. Remember Shannon Sharpe had every tight end record in the books and didn’t make it on the first ballot. Art Monk had to wait years, Cris Carter is still waiting.
Throw in contributors like Art Modell, Eddie DeBartolo (5 Super Bowl rings) and coach Bill Parcells and you can see it’s crowded for the max 5 spots.

I feel Ogden is the class of the 2013 class but first year eligible’s like Warren Sapp, Michael Strahan and Larry Allen (More All-Pro honors than J.O.) will get support. Chiefs Guard Will Shields has 12 Pro Bowl trips and he’s not in. Just saying it’s not as slam dunk as you’d think.

So here’s my case for the gentile giant who dominated his position for 12 years. The following was sent to the other 45 members of the Board of Selectors earlier this week.

• First-team selection to the NFL’s 2000’s All-Decade Team, selected by the Pro Football Hall of
Fame’s Board of Selectors. (Hall of Fame Tackle Willie Roaf selected to second-team.)

• Selected to 11-consecutive Pro Bowls, joining Anthony Muñoz and Willie Roaf as the only
offensive tackles selected 11 times. Only non-Pro Bowl season was as a rookie (when he
played guard).

• Nine-time All-Pro selection, six-time first-team. Nine-time All-AFC pick.

• Named to the NFL Network’s The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players. Ranked fourth all-time
among offensive tackles (Anthony Muñoz, Jim Parker, and Forrest Gregg).

• Was the lead blocker for Jamal Lewis’s 2,066-yard rushing season (second best in NFL history)
in 2003.

• Averaged only 1.2 false starts and holding penalties per season for entire career (Stats, Inc).

• Super Bowl XXXV Champion and a member of the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor.

Those in the know on J.O.

Former Steelers head coach and CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher: “We couldn’t beat him with speed rushers, and he would just engulf power rushers. Those long arms, the great feet, the strength – he has it all. Jonathan is, without a doubt, a Hall of Fame player who is one of the very best left tackles in NFL history.”

Ravens GM and Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome: “I’ve had the opportunity to be in this league for over 30 years, but in my opinion, there is not a player who played his position better than Jonathan Ogden.”

Former Ravens offensive line coach and current University of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz: “From the very first practice, you knew you were next to greatness. I’m not sure he made five mistakes his entire
rookie year.”

12-year teammate Ray Lewis: “When people ask me about my career, I’ll tell them I played with a Hall of Fame left tackle. Those skills, those long arms on that huge frame, the fastest feet. His competitive fire. A lot of the time, he was faster than our running backs. He’s a once in a lifetime player.”

Four-time Pro Bowler and CBS Sports analyst Trevor Pryce:“In my 11 years of playing, he’s by far the best I ever played against.”

Seven-time Pro Bowl DE Michael Strahan: “When you played J.O., you prayed that you wouldn’t get embarrassed.”

He’s got my vote, there’s no question in my mind he’s among the best who ever played.


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