Shannon Sharpe, former Ravens Hall of Fame Tight End and CBS Football analyst, joined the Norris and Davis Show on Baltimore’s 105-7 THE FAN Thursday morning to discuss Jonathan Ogden’s induction into the Hall of Fame.  He says that Ogden might have been the most complete offensive lineman to ever play the game.  He then transitions to talk about the 2000 Ravens and what was special about the team.  He mentions that the defense was carrying the team, especially over the few games where they didn’t score a touchdown.  When asked if it bothers him that the 2000 Ravens were regarded as a defensive team, he tells it doesn’t bother him because his ring is the same as everyone on defense.

He mentions the loss of Dennis Pitta for the year, saying that it is going to be a big loss since he is such a special player.  He compares it to when Jamal Lewis tore his ACL in 2001, saying that he felt more optimistic when Lewis got hurt, but there was still the same issue with missing a star player on the team.  He tells that “we are about to find out” if Joe Flacco is going to be able to carry the team this year, saying that winning a ring is not going to make someone an “elite quarterback.”

When prompted about Riley Cooper’s recent comments involving a racial slur, he brings up the fact that Cooper opened a can of worms by saying something non-football related and causing such a scene.  He says that Cooper is going to have to face all of the black players on defenses during the year. He talked about whether or not he would forgive Cooper if he was a teammate:

“I would have to, he’s a teammate. But look, you opened up a can of worms because now we have to address something that’s non-football related. Now you’re taking this entire team’s focus off of something that’s not football related. Those are the problems that I had with teammates that did something out of the scope that I had to address. I wasn’t there to address your problem. A bigger issue is now his mom, his father, his brother and sister have to address issues that they shouldn’t have to address because he was speaking. But look, I would say, ‘Look man, I can’t believe you said that. Hopefully that’s not in your heart.’ But normally when people are drinking and they’re pissed off they say truthful things, they say things from their heart. I’m gonna move on, but I hope the rest of the guys can forgive him. But what he did open was a can of worms for everybody else that plays on the opposite side of the football that’s gonna be teeing off on him. Because most of the safeties in the National Football League are African American. Most of the corners – African American. A lot of the linebackers – African American. Those are the guys that he’s gonna have to face. Those are the guys that he’s gonna have to make amends to.”

Sharpe does not think that the Ravens have gotten better as a team because they lost stars such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, along with other major parts to the defense.  While the team may seem better on paper, he tells that we have yet to see what they will become.  However, he trusts Ozzie Newsome’s decisions with regards to the team’s roster.

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