Jon Ogden and retirement…

December 08, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

With horseshoes on the brain, I’ve spent the day thinking about how much fun I had at the game on Monday night.

And which set of purple helmets will post tomorrow night on Sunday Night Football as the "World Champion" Indianapolis Colts roll into the stadium?

The Sun is reporting a major Jon Ogden "non-retirement" story — which amounted to nothing, really.

I’ve known Ogden very well from the beginning and I’d be shocked if he came back and played football next year. Absolutely shocked.

But he’s nowhere NEAR making any announcement, and he told me as much yesterday. Think more like March or April. And he made it VERY clear that he won’t want/desire/need or be a party to any "fanfare" about it.

Typical J.O., really. Large guy, small needs.

This is a tough time of the toughest season of all for Jon Ogden, Mike Flynn, Steve McNair, Trevor Pryce and anybody else who might be playing the final games of their collective careers amidst injury, physical breakdowns that only the battles of the past decade could foretell and the worst possible result: losing, and losing badly.

"Playing out the string" is what they call it.

But this might be the end, the one they’ve only "heard about" from the Spencer Folaus, Michael McCrarys and Orlando Browns.

The last time they’re ever gonna walk on that field and play football.

We all know: it’s been tough this year!

Jon Ogden has not shaken hands with an opposing player this season after a win. Mike Flynn is staring at an "optional" retirement in four weeks and hasn’t won a football game in six weeks.

Someone in the locker room printed up "Mike Flynn Farewell Tour" T-shirts and Flynn, who is usually the life of the party, apparently wasn’t totally amused. And that unto itself isn’t really surprising.

It hurts to say goodbye to what you’ve done your whole adult life. Football and the pursuit of excellence and the next victory is what fuels these guys. They’re absolute warriors every Sunday. They truly LIVE for this stuff.

You think YOU’RE upset about 4-8 and a six-game losing streak?

Well, I know Mike Flynn and Jon Ogden and they are absolutely "SALTY" to use Flynn’s favorite phrase. Usually the jovial type, Flynn takes this losing stuff VERY, VERY hard. He told me he wasn’t feeling particularly "social" given the circumstances.

These are proud, proud men. And losing football games really pisses them off.

My personal belief is that they are both leaning more toward retirement than playing a 2008 season. Certainly, it would take something monumental to lure Ogden back. Flynn might be just on the other side of the 50/50 range, closer to retirement than to training camp.

But they both reserve the right to change their minds. And I honestly don’t think either one of them really WANTS to contemplate this being the "real" end. I think they’d rather savor these last four games as potential victories than make "farewell" tours.

Ogden indicated to me that he wouldn’t decide until he had to, the last minute he could without screwing up the team. By April at the absolute latest.

Like I said, Flynn isn’t saying much of anything and isn’t in a "decision-making" mode. He’s in a "beating the Colts" mode.

These are merely two of the many, many unfolding offseason dramas that the Ravens will be enduring after the Pittsburgh game.

From Billick to offense, from McNair to Suggs, from free agency and retirements to scouting combines to the draft and mini-camp.

Stay tuned.

It’s going to be a very bumpy, twisting and turning offseason for the Ravens.

It always is when you lose like they’ve lost this season. And you’ve got aging veteran players who have given their entire careers to the organization.

 

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