Jonathan Ogden’s enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is a stepping stone for the Ravens franchise that has only been around for 17-years. Being the Ravens first draft pick in 1996, and an offensive lineman it was clear how the franchise wanted to build this team. It certainly started a winning way here in Baltimore that fans have rallied around and have become to appreciate as one of the premiere football cities in all of the NFL.
LISTEN TO JERRY’S FULL 1-ON-1 WITH J.O. HERE:
Ogden at 6’8, 345 sure stood out in many ways, especially for his intellect and skills on the football field. The left tackle was just not athletic, but smart as well, and that combination helped provide the Ravens one of the best offensives lines over the 12 years he played.
During his 15-minute induction speech he was even-keel, and kept his composure on stage in front of hundreds of friends and family and even the Baltimore faithful who made the trip to Canton. Reflecting on when he was drafted by a new franchise at the time he said to Ozzie Newsome, “I’ve often thought about that day back in 1996 when you drafted me, I think that worked out for everybody.” Newsome has been the only Ravens GM in history and presented Ogden at the Ceremony. Now that J.O. is a part of football history and inside “The Hall” surrounded by players such Dick Butkus, Jim Brown, Raymond Berry and the late, great Art Donovan, he joins an exclusive club.
Since the Ravens came into the league in 1996 they have 9 playoff appearances, which two have concluded with holding up the Lombardi trophy. Ogden being a part of the first one for the Ravens spoke with me after the ceremony and said that “ winning it all “ was the highlight of his career. “Obviously that is just something that every football players hopes to do one time in their career, a lot of guys in this building, in the HOF do not have Super Bowl Rings.”
That was one moment for him but he also noted that Jamal Lewis’s 2000-yard season was something that he will never forget because the passing game has never been the Ravens identity. Admitting, “Really as a unity we took pride as the offensive line getting Jamal Lewis those yards and opening up those holes and coming with ways to blocking the defense’s that we were seeing because we not the greatest passing game in the world during that run, so people were focused on trying to stop us, I am really proud of that.”
A team moves to a new city without an identity and the new GM makes a statement by taking a lineman with the first ever pick in 1996, instead of troubled college star, Lawrence Phillips. The RB burned out and eventually went to jail, while the lineman out of UCLA reached “football immortality“ and the rest, as they say, is history.