Sometimes things happen for a reason. In 1996 the Baltimore Ravens needed a running back and then owner Art Modell wanted running back Lawrence Phillips, however vice president of player personnel (now general manager) Ozzie Newsome had a different opinion.
It was rumored that the Arizona Cardinals would select left tackle Jonathan Ogden and Newsome thought he’d have to take Phillips, but much to his surprise the Cardinals selected another player and Newsome snatched Ogden. The rest is history…
Jonathan Ogden was the first player drafted by the Ravens. Modell moved the former Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and they became the Ravens. While the new franchise had a name, they were without a logo.
When Ogden was selected, he stood on the stage wearing a very small “Ravens” baseball hat and held up a “Baltimore Ravens” sweatshirt.
Ogden was the first player to spend his entire career as a Raven which lasted 12 seasons with 11 Pro Bowls; nine All Pro.
Ravens history would look a lot different if he wasn’t drafted by Newsome. No Ogden means no Super Bowl championship in 2000 and former running back Jamal Lewis would not have rushed for 2,000 yards in 2003.
At 6’9”, the gentile giant was a great pass protector and run blocker.
ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensely described Ogden:
What separates Ogden from the tackles who played before and after him is a rare combination of athleticism, competitiveness and intelligence.
Good as he was on the field, he also gave back to the community. Ogden started the Jonathan Ogden Foundation to benefit inner city schools in Baltimore and to help students develop self-esteem via athletics and education.
Ogden retired in 2008. Four months after announcing his retirement he was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor.
In January 2013, Ogden was voted into Hall of Fame where he will be inducted tonight.
It is fitting that Ogden asked Newsome to present him at the Hall of Fame ceremony:
“I chose Ozzie because he brought me into Baltimore, and I respect him and worked well together,” Ogden said, via ESPN.com. “I could also go talk to him and be honest with him. He’s just one of the people who I just really respect in the business. It just kind of made sense to me.”
Congratulations Jonathan Ogden! I couldn’t be happier for you and I’m proud to say you played for my team. Enjoy your day, you deserve it.