Newsome emotional about Hall call
In anticipation of Jonathan Ogden’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, general manager Ozzie Newsome met with the media Monday. Newsome, who will present Ogden in Canton, Ohio, told a few Ogden anecdotes, including:
The Ravens were going to draft Lawrence Phillips if somebody had taken Ogden before them. But Odgen was still available with the fourth pick in 1996, and the Ravens had Ogden rated higher than Phillips.
“If we don’t pick Jonathan Ogden with that first pick, I may not have this job,” Newsome said. “Jonathan was very good, but he got better. If it wasn’t for the toe (injury in 2007), Jonathan could have probably played another four or five years. But he decided to walk away from the game.”
Newsome recalled how easy Ogden made playing left tackle look.
“Football is a hard game,” Newsome said. I don’t know if he even had to sweat half the time. That’s because of the way he prepared.
“It wasn’t just because he was athletic, and he was competitive. He had the intellect also. He had the ability to understand schemes, what other people were doing on defense, and that made the game so much easier for him to play.”
Newsome said Ogden was as fast as some Ravens’ running backs.
“I think his rookie year, he was playing guard,” Newsome said. “He was out on a screen pass, and he was leading Ernest (Byner). Ernest was having a tough time just trying to catch up with Jonathan. I don’t want to embarrass any other player in the league, but there were probably three or four games where I would watch Jonathan on tape on that Monday, and I would hate to have been that player…because of the way Jonathan had destroyed him.
Newsome said the Ravens never gave Ogden help, no matter who he was blocking
“When we had Jonathan, we didn’t care who we were playing,” Newsome said. “We played against some of the best pass rushers – guys that have gone into the Hall of Fame. But when we had Jonathan, we didn’t worry about those guys. We didn’t have to worry about keeping backs in, chipping, tight ends staying in to chip or help. We had Jonathan.
“There are a lot of great players who are in the Hall of Fame that are very deserving. But I don’t know if there’s anybody who played the position the position any better than Jonathan Odgen did.”