Tag Archive | "jonathan ogden"

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Ray Lewis one of 27 semifinalists for 2018 Hall of Fame class

Posted on 21 November 2017 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has taken the next step toward football immortality.

The 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was named one of 27 semifinalists for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class on Tuesday. He is one of six in their first year of eligibility, joining defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebacker Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

Considered one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history, Lewis is expected by most to be a first-ballot selection and would become the second lifelong Raven to be inducted after left tackle Jonathan Ogden was enshrined in 2013. The 15 modern-era finalists will be announced in January with no more than five of those tabbed for induction in Minneapolis on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII.

The enshrinement ceremony will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio next August.

Lewis retired after the 2012 season with his brilliant 17-year career concluding with a win in Super Bowl XLVII. In his fifth season, he was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXV after leading one of the best defenses in NFL history to a championship.

The 1996 first-round pick out of the University of Miami is the Ravens’ all-time leader in tackles and ranks second in interceptions behind only Ed Reed and second in forced fumbles behind Terrell Suggs. Reed will be eligible for Hall of Fame induction after the 2018 season.

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Stanley pick solid despite feeling like bummer for Ravens

Posted on 29 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — All signs point to first-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley being a rock-solid pick for the Ravens.

A three-year starter at Notre Dame, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound lineman had been linked to the Ravens as an option throughout the pre-draft process and head coach John Harbaugh has a lengthy relationship with Fighting Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. The debate will continue whether general manager Ozzie Newsome passed on a superior talent in Mississippi left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but you could hardly blame the Ravens if they did shy away from the latter’s off-field baggage that was on display to the entire world via social media on Thursday night.

Some draft pundits considered Stanley the better prospect anyway and the Ravens apparently agreed.

“Our scouts get a lot of information,” said general manager Ozzie Newsome when asked if the released Twitter video of Tunsil smoking from a bong influenced his decision. “When things happen, a lot of the time we’re not surprised. We took the best player, the player that was rated the highest on the board at that point. But I cannot neglect the importance of the work that our scouts do in the fall and in the spring getting information for us.”

You can understand the Ravens’ desire to move on from incumbent left tackle Eugene Monroe as he’s been held to just 17 starts over the last two years and appears more interested in medical marijuana advocacy than football these days. It’s also never a bad idea to emphasize protecting the blindside of your franchise quarterback coming back from a serious left knee injury.

But the night still felt like a bummer.

Maybe it’s because the Ravens unsuccessfully attempted to trade up to take Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey before he was claimed by Jacksonville just a pick before they were on the clock. Top pass-rushing target Joey Bosa also came off the board immediately after the two quarterbacks were taken with the first two picks of the night.

It’s fair to wonder whether the Ravens could have traded down a few spots and still tabbed Stanley while picking up an additional pick or two, but the opportunity didn’t come to fruition — Newsome said he didn’t receive a single call while Baltimore was on the clock — and it’s not as though the 22-year-old tackle was viewed as unworthy of a top 10 choice.

Drafting Stanley may have been the prudent move, but the organization still had to use its earliest pick since 2000 at a position where they invested a five-year, $37.5 million contract — $17.5 million of it guaranteed — just two years ago. It still feels more like fixing a mistake than dramatically improving your football team, even if Stanley can adjust more quickly to the NFL than other top 10 left tackles who have struggled in recent years.

“When you watch his maturation throughout his career and his ability to adapt to the different things they do, you just feel confident in his ability to be able to pick things up,” said director of college scouting Joe Hortiz about Stanley coming out of Notre Dame. “They run a multiple offense, they do a lot of different things, and they change it up in the middle of the games and series of what they’re doing. [Stanley] really adjusts well. I think from intelligence, maturity, and the way he’s grown, he gives you confidence going forward.”

If we’re being completely honest, left tackle just isn’t a pick that will fire up a fan base whose team is coming off a rare losing season and needs more playmakers on both sides of the ball.

But that’s when the Ravens will remind you that they were in a similar position 20 years ago when they took a left tackle out of UCLA named Jonathan Ogden, who was far from the most exciting choice for a team in a new city. It proved to be a home-run decision, of course, and the organization has been trying to find the 2013 Hall of Fame inductee’s long-term replacement since his retirement after the 2007 season.

Jared Gaither, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, and Monroe all proved to be no better than temporary placeholders. The Ravens hope they’ve finally found their long-term solution in Stanley.

To expect him to be another Ogden would be unfair, but he needs to be a player the Ravens can pencil in at left tackle and not have to worry about for a long time if this is to be a successful pick at sixth overall. At the very least, you hope Stanley can be closer to Ogden than Oher, who didn’t cut it at left tackle despite being a first-round pick in 2009.

“We’re going to have high expectations for him, but it’s going to be up to him to get the job done,” Harbaugh said. “He has to win the job just like anybody else would have to.”

No, Stanley may not have been the best-case scenario for the Ravens, but they think he can finally anchor the position that was the least of the franchise’s worries for more than a decade and has now been a headache for nearly as long now.

That’s a long-term outcome that would easily outweigh any lingering disappointment from Thursday night.

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Ravens must hit home run in this year’s draft

Posted on 06 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — When you draft two future Hall of Fame players with the first two picks in franchise history, the standard is going to be impossible to live up to.

But that didn’t stop general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens from coming very close for the better part of the next decade. After Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in that franchise-defining 1996 draft came Peter Boulware, Chris McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Ed Reed (another future Hall of Famer), Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Ben Grubbs in first rounds over the next 11 years, all of them Pro Bowl selections.

Sure, there were a couple misses along the way, but you simply expected the Ravens to find a Pro Bowl player in the first round of the draft every year. Those emphatic early hits began to dissipate, however, and Baltimore has seen just one first-round pick — C.J. Mosley in 2014 — make the Pro Bowl since 2008.

The previous home runs and triples have been replaced by more singles and doubles — and a few more strikeouts — in recent years, which are still better than other teams in the NFL, but that decline came into focus this past year when a lack of playmakers and a rash of injuries led to a 5-11 season.

“If you look at [recent] drafts compared to ’96 to 2004, I would say that they didn’t measure up to those drafts,” Newsome said. “From ’96 to 2004, we drafted three Hall of Famers, but I will also say that during that time early on when you’re picking in the top 10 of the draft, you have a chance to be a lot more successful than it is when you’re picking anywhere from 20 to 32, which [are] the positions that we’ve been in.

“But I would say it was not up to my standards.”

Newsome’s point is fair as the Ravens have been a victim of their own success in that way after making the postseason 10 times in the last 16 years. They haven’t picked in even the first half of the first round in a decade and the sixth overall pick in this month’s draft will be the organization’s earliest since 2000.

As much as the Ravens were blessed to be able to land Hall of Fame talent when they took Ray Lewis 26th overall in 1996 and Reed 24th in 2002, the final 10 picks of the first round and the early second round typically aren’t littered with All-Pro talent everywhere you look. As if Lewis and Reed weren’t enough, the Ravens also found future Pro Bowl selections in Heap and Grubbs very late in the first round, but such success shouldn’t fool anyone into assuming you should find a Pro Bowl player that late every single year.

Yes, there have been some ugly first- and second-round picks in recent drafts as Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody, Matt Elam, and Arthur Brown immediately come to mind, but other maligned choices such as Michael Oher and Courtney Upshaw were still more positive than not — even if they weren’t Pro Bowl players.

The drafts haven’t been all bad as Pernell McPhee, Brandon Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Rick Wagner have been impressive middle-round finds over the last five years, but they just need to be better, especially in the early rounds. Recent drafts have been solid — for the most part — but rarely special.

“Have we drafted a ton of Pro Bowlers? No, we haven’t, but I’m proud of the players we’ve drafted,” said assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, who cited the big free-agent money other teams have spent on Ravens picks such as McPhee, Torrey Smith, Arthur Jones, and Kelechi Osemele in the last few offseasons. “I think we’ll get back to being a really good team soon. I’m not going to stress out about it.

“Can we do better in certain instances? Of course we can. You’re dealing with human emotion people, but I think our scouts and coaches have done a really good job. I think we’ll get back to prominence.”

If serious contention is in the cards for 2016, the Ravens need to hit a couple long balls and triples, not just with the sixth overall pick but with their six other selections in the top 134 spots. A successful draft isn’t only about the first round as Newsome has shown in finding Pro Bowl-caliber players and starters in the middle and late rounds over the years.

Expecting the Ravens to find their next future Hall of Famer later this month would be unfair, but they do need to find the next pillar around which to build. If it isn’t a Ray Lewis, Ogden, or Reed, drafting the next Suggs, Ngata, or Jamal Lewis is a reasonable expectation when picking so early.

DeCosta acknowledged Tuesday that the money in Vegas would be on the Ravens taking a defensive player with the sixth pick as there are five or six “elite” ones in his mind, but the executive also said there are three or four offensive players who might be the best fit depending on how the first five picks play out in a few weeks.

Whether it’s a player like Jalen Ramsey of Florida State unexpectedly falling into their laps or a regular mock-draft target such as Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, UCLA’s Myles Jack, Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, or Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley or even another name being discussed less frequently such as running back Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State, the Ravens must come away with a special talent.

They need to find the next player who will one day be in the Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium.

That would go a long way in not only helping them bounce back from a 5-11 season, but such a player would be a good step in preventing the Ravens from being back in this position for another 16 years.

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Ted Talk: My chats with Marchibroda – a Baltimore football icon

Posted on 16 January 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

So many memories of Ted Marchibroda. They started with me on Bank Street in Dundalk taking the No. 22 bus to Memorial Stadium to see his Colts teams play in 1975-76-77. Then, watching as our team was gone as he led the K-Gun offense in Buffalo.

Then, of course, I got to know Ted Marchibroda when he was named the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and had a press conference on February 15, 1996.

Marchibroda called my show that day and the audio is here and in the Buy A Toyota Audio Vault.

He also spent an entire evening with a group of fans at The Barn in May 1997. That chat is also here and will be presented on WNST.net & AM 1570 radio this week.

We join everyone associated with both the Colts and Ravens organizations in wishing Ted Marchibroda an eternity of peace and happiness in football heaven.

Ted Marchibroda passed away on January 16th, 2015, at the age of 84.

Marchibroda coached the Baltimore Colts from 1975 through 1979, the Indianapolis Colts from 1992 through 1995, and was hired to coach the newly relocated Baltimore Ravens in 1996. He coached in Baltimore for three years, and was considered by many Baltimore football fans as the perfect head coach to serve as a bridge as the team transitioned from Indianapolis to Baltimore. Known as an offensive innovator, Marchibroda is a highly respected figure in the game.

My first chat with Ted Marchibroda in February of 1996 before the Ravens had ever played a game in Baltimore – before they even had a name!

Hear us discuss Vinny Testaverde, Art Modell, expectations for the Ravens in year 1, and look ahead to the draft which ultimately produced Ray Lewis and Jon Ogden.

Listen here:

In May of 1997, Ted sat down with me once again after having coached the Ravens to a 4-12 record in their inaugural season in Baltimore.

Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of their conversation here:

 

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Ravens continue chasing ghost at left tackle position

Posted on 15 December 2015 by Luke Jones

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has used high draft picks, made trades, and even handed out long-term contracts, but the same pursuit continues beyond a stopgap or two.

He’s still chasing the on-field ghost of Jonathan Ogden, the Hall of Fame left tackle and the first player selected in the history of the franchise with the fourth pick of the 1996 draft. With every passing year, appreciation grows deeper for what Ogden did for more than a decade as they complete their eighth season since his retirement at the end of the 2007 campaign.

Finding a future Hall of Famer at the position is one thing, but Newsome and the Ravens would settle for a guy who they can pencil into the lineup for the next four or five years and be able to sleep well at night.

Not counting backups filling in due to injuries, there’s been Jared Gaither, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, and Eugene Monroe, none holding down the position for more than a season or two before concerns resurface. Fourth-year left guard Kelechi Osemele has become the latest man to receive a shot as he started his first NFL game at left tackle in Sunday’s loss to Seattle.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Osemele will remain at left tackle for the final three games of 2015, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

“I thought he looked good. There are some things that he can do better,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes the sets and the angles and the timing the movement, sometimes it’s something that he’ll get a feel for more and more as he plays. But he had lots of good blocks [in] pass protection and the run game. I thought he was a bright spot.”

A left tackle at Iowa State before being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, Osemele expressed his enjoyment for the position after Sunday’s 35-6 loss, but the Ravens may only be enhancing the lineman’s value on the open market instead of finding a long-term solution for themselves. With a less-than-enviable salary cap situation going into the offseason, Newsome signed four-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda to a four-year extension earlier this fall, leading many to believe that Osemele will receive a big payday elsewhere.

Even if the above-average guard looks the part of a long-term left tackle over these final three games, there’s still the matter of what the Ravens will do with Monroe, who is only in the second season of a five-year, $37.5 million contract that clearly hasn’t worked out. Placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury over the weekend, Monroe has started just 17 games over the last two seasons and finished only three of the six contests he started this season.

Though he’s generally been solid when he’s played over the last two years, his performance still hasn’t been as strong as it was in 2013 when the Ravens traded fourth- and fifth-round draft picks to Jacksonville to acquire him in early October of that season. After concluding that Oher, their 2009 first-round pick, wasn’t suited for the blind side and having concerns about McKinnie’s commitment to the game, the Ravens felt Monroe would finally be the long-term answer they had sought from the time that Ogden retired.

After missing only four games in his first five seasons in the NFL, Monroe has missed 17 starts in the last two years, including two playoff games last season. After he left the Nov. 22 game against St. Louis with a shoulder injury, backup James Hurt rolled into quarterback Joe Flacco’s left knee, causing a season-ending injury.

In addition to Monroe reportedly refusing a simple contract restructuring that would have provided some salary-cap relief this past offseason, his inability to stay on the field at such an important position has frustrated the organization.

“It’s just disappointing, because here’s a guy that you’re counting on, we trade two picks for him, and he has played well,” Harbaugh said. “As he said, he was playing the best football of his career this year when he came back for two or three weeks or whenever he was back. I think that was the most crushing thing for him, because he felt like he was really playing really good football.

“It’s not what we hoped for. We hoped that he’d be in the lineup and playing, and that’s not what he hoped for [either]. Nobody works harder. This guy trains like you can’t believe, so it’s a tough deal.”

Many fans are clamoring for Monroe to be released in the offseason as he is scheduled to make $6.5 million in base salary and carry an $8.7 million figure for 2016. Cutting him with a pre-June 1 designation would save $2.1 million in cap space while leaving $6.6 million in dead money, a sizable chunk considering the many weaknesses Baltimore will need to address on both sides of the ball before next season. A post June-1 designation would push most of that dead money to 2017, but the Ravens would not be able to take advantage of that cap space until most free-agent activity would long be over.

Even if Newsome and the Ravens elect to move on from Monroe, it remains unclear whether Osemele would be within their price range, making it possible that they could turn to the draft to find their answer. Currently set to pick in the top five of April’s draft, the Ravens may find Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss or Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley as attractive — and more affordable — options at left tackle with their first pick.

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, the Ravens find themselves back in an all-too-familiar position.

They’re still trying to replace No. 75.

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An important #WNSTSweet16 during an important week for the Ravens

Posted on 06 May 2014 by Luke Jones

After taking a look at the rare not-so-great draft moments in the history of the Baltimore Ravens a week ago, this week’s #WNSTSweet16 recognizes an abundance of riches in ranking the most important draft picks in franchise history.

Though recent years have produced more singles and doubles than triples and home runs as they relate to the work of general manager Ozzie Newsome and his talented front office, the Ravens’ immense success over the first 18 years of their existence should be attributed first and foremost to the draft and an ability to recognize talent to fit their vision of a winning franchise. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said last week that luck is a significant factor in finding impact talent year after year, but a simple look at this week’s list shows that 11 of the 16 choices came in the first round, a reflection of just how rarely the Ravens have missed early in the draft.

It’s important to reiterate this week’s list covers the most important — not necessarily the best — draft picks as certain selections came at critical junctures for a franchise that already boasts two Super Bowl championships in its young history. A simple question to ask in determining a draft pick’s importance was, “How critical was this player to winning a championship or at least enjoying an extended run of success?”

Cracking the top five is no easy task as the Ravens already claim one Hall of Fame player selected with their first ever draft pick while two other first-round choices are slam dunks for Canton in the not-so-distant future.

Without further ado, I present the #WNSTSweet16 Most Important Draft Picks in Ravens History:

Continue to next page for No. 16

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Modell left off Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist list

Posted on 21 November 2013 by Luke Jones

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After being included in the list of finalists for only the second time last year, late Ravens owner Art Modell will wait at least another year for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Modell, who passed away in 2012, did not make the list of semifinalists for the Class of 2014 revealed Wednesday night. He had been named a semifinalist in eight of the previous nine years and was also a finalist in 2001. Despite being regarded as a pioneer in envisioning television playing a major role in taking the NFL to unprecedented heights, Modell’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame has been thwarted on multiple occasions in the past because of the controversial move from Cleveland to Baltimore.

Former Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden was inducted last season, an announcement that came in New Orleans the night before the Ravens won their second Super Bowl title in early February.

Here’s the list of 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2014:

Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Jerome Bettis, Derrick Brooks, Tim Brown, Don Coryell, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Marvin Harrison, Joe Jacoby, Jimmy Johnson, Walter Jones, John Lynch, Karl Mecklenburg, Andre Reed, Will Shields, Michael Strahan, Paul Tagliabue, Aeneas Williams, Steve Wisniewski, George Young

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Ogden to be honored in hometown Friday

Posted on 19 September 2013 by WNST Staff

Canton, Ohio – Sept. 13, 2013 – Pro football legend Jonathan Ogden will be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, as part of “Hometown Hall of Famers™,” a national program honoring the hometown roots of the sport’s greatest coaches, players, and contributors with special ceremonies and plaque dedication events in local communities.

“’Hometown Hall of Famers™’ has been warmly embraced by communities and Hall of Famers alike,” said George Veras, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises president and CEO. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Allstate to bring the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities across the country and congratulate Jonathan Ogden and St. Albans School on bringing a piece of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to Washington, D.C.”

An 11-time Pro Bowler and former high school standout at St. Albans School, Ogden will be presented with his “Hometown Hall of Famer™” plaque during a special ceremony at 8:45 a.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 20, in the school’s gymnasium, where the plaque will live permanently to serve as an inspiration for the school’s students and athletes. The presentation will be made by Ogden’s former athletic director from St. Albans School, Oliver ‘Skip” Grant.

“To be part of a program that brings the prestige and tradition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities like Washington, D.C., is an honor for Allstate, our agents and employees,” said Lisa Cochrane, Allstate’s senior vice president of marketing.

The ceremony will be attended by St. Albans School students, faculty, staff, alumni and Ogden’s family members and close friends. Vance Wilson, St. Albans School headmaster, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Jonathan Ogden “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Washington, D.C.

An Outland Trophy Award-winning tackle from UCLA, Ogden was the first-ever first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 NFL Draft. The consensus All-Rookie pick helped the Ravens climb to the top of the NFL during his 12 seasons in Baltimore. A great pass protector and run blocker, Ogden helped lead the Ravens to their first-ever Super Bowl in 2000 where they beat the New York Giants in a 34-7 victory in Super Bowl XXXV.

Ogden was named the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Alumni in 2002. He received firstteam All-Pro honors six times and All-AFC honors nine times, and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s. Ogden was inducted into the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor in 2008 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 2013, Ogden became the first longtime member of the Ravens franchise to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Fans can visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame website for more information on the “Hometown Hall of Famers™” program, and can view event videos at www.youtube.com/allstate.

 

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Newsome to present Ogden at next weekend’s Hall of Fame ceremony

Posted on 26 July 2013 by WNST Staff

JONATHAN OGDEN NATIONAL TELECONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

On his reaction to being drafted by the Ravens in 1996 and what he first noticed when he got to Baltimore: “There was some surprise, yes, because all the draftniks, all the people were saying that, ‘You were going to go to the Cardinals with the third pick. You are going to go to the Cardinals.’ That was getting beaten into my head the whole time. So, when the third pick came up, and they picked Simeon Rice, I was a little surprised. I knew things could always happen, but I was raised to get up when I heard the phone ring in the green room. Then Baltimore came on the clock next, and I knew I had taken the trip down to visit them, and I was like, ‘Oh, you know. It seemed like an interesting organization because nothing was established yet.’ When I got that call I was a little bit in shock, because one, I wasn’t expecting to go to Baltimore and two, I didn’t really know what to expect with Baltimore. After I talked to Ozzie [Newsome] and I talked to Mr. [Art] Modell, and I got an idea of what their plans were for Baltimore, I got excited after that. I said, ‘I’m going to be a part of something here, and I’m going to help us build a winner here.’”

On if getting ready for the induction this weekend has prompted him to do some reflecting on his career and what have been some of the most interesting things he has looked back on: “I definitely have been looking back on my career while doing this speech that I’ve been dreading that I am going to have to give. The one thing that I’m trying to wrap my mind around is giving that speech. I’ve never been that guy who likes to stand there and talk in public, but I’m ready to do it. But yes, I have definitely been doing some reflecting. My career was really solid. The one thing that I can say about my career was how I played really consistent football. I never really looked back and said, ‘Man, if I would have done this, that or the other…’ I always felt like I gave my all, and I was always consistent out there. I think that’s kind of what led me to become a great player. This game is about consistency at the end of the day. I think that’s probably about it there.”

On who will be presenting him at the Hall of Fame: “Ozzie Newsome.”

On why he chose Ozzie Newsome to present him: “I chose Ozzie [Newsome], because he brought me in to Baltimore. I respect him, and we work well together. I could always go talk to him, be honest with him, and he’s just one of the people that I really respect in the business. It just kind of made sense to me.”

On how much influence some of his old coaches had on him as a person and as a player: “When you look back at it, it’s kind of funny. A lot of this stuff is in my speech, so you will get to hear it again. Definitely St. Albans had a huge influence on me. Skip Grant really kind of was one of the first people – honesty, integrity – really … He walked it and lived it. You know the man, so you know who I’m talking about. You know Dick Allanson – these guys really taught you good lessons in life. St. Albans taught you a lot. [They] taught us how to think for yourself, how to become a better citizen, and those are lessons that I definitely took. It’s kind of strange, yes, being one of the … I guess I am St. Albans’ first Hall of Famer. (laughing) I don’t think they have any other ones. It’s nice to bring some recognition to the school. I’m glad that I could do that for them, because they did so much for me.”

On what he most wants to be remembered for and what his dad’s thoughts would be about him being inducted: “On the football field, I just want to be remembered as the guy who was dependable, who was a good teammate, who didn’t go out there and make silly mistakes, you knew he was going to be there game-in game-out, day-in day-out, had his teammates back out there. My dad would be very … He would enjoy this day coming up. He was the guy who I wanted to be like growing up. I modeled playing after him. He knew that, and I’m just glad that he at least got to see most of my career. He didn’t get to see all of my career, but he got to see most of it. And, he also got to see his grandson, too. That’s the positives that I can take from it that he at least got to see some of those things.”

On if he can still see his dad at St. Albans watching him from the sidelines with a huge umbrella: “Yes, I couldn’t get to football practice without that man. He would come pick me up every day, and he would come out to the games no matter what the situation was just to be there. Never really pushed me, but was always encouraging me. He wasn’t one of those parents who made me do it, but he kind of always had that encouraging word for me about just trying to stick in there, just keep your chin up. Times get tough, especially when you’re young. You’re a young man starting in the game, and you don’t know if you really love it. He kind of kept me going on that path.”

On if there was ever a time where he went to his dad and told him that he didn’t think he could continue to play football and his dad talked him back into it: “No, there was never a time that I said that. I think I would have been let him down too much if I said that. But, when those days, when it’s tough, you are just like, ‘Man, this is … I don’t know. There’s nothing worth having that’s easy.’ You just have to keep on pushing. If you enjoy the game, you have to work for it. It made me realize that.”

On what it was like for him getting inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Ravens winning the Super Bowl in the same year: “That was really just one of those things … You look at it, and you’re like, ‘This can’t really be happening.’ It just seems like a storybook, like somebody really isn’t going into the Hall of Fame while their team is playing in the biggest game on the planet in one of the best towns on the planet in New Orleans. And that ovation that I got at the coin toss was unbelievable. Then the whole drama of the game … We end up winning. It could not have been a better weekend. I told them the only thing that could have made the weekend better is if Art Modell would have gotten into the Hall of Fame with me at the same time. That was the only thing that could have been better. Everything else was perfect. You get very few chances in life to say that. I enjoyed that weekend.”

On how it feels to be the Ravens’ first overall pick and first original Hall of Famer: “It feels great. When I was playing, I was just out there working. I couldn’t help the fact that I was the Ravens’ first pick. It just kind of happened, and in my mind, all I wanted to do was help the guys win and go out there, so I don’t look at it in that perspective. When I do step outside of myself and look at it, it’s like, ‘Wow, that guy – he had it pretty good,’ (laughter) if that makes sense. It’s hard in my own perspective to view it that way though.”

On how his football IQ impacted his game and if he still has his notebook of opposing pass rushers: “No, the notebook disappeared a few years ago. I don’t know what happened to it. They always say [that] the quarterback and offensive lineman need to be the smartest – quarterback maybe, but O-line definitely. It’s all about how quickly you can read and process what’s happening on the field and understand what the defense is trying to do to you. Where is that safety rotating down from? Where is that linebacker, the lineman – is he inside? All these things that, when you play long enough, you can get a tip, and when you can get a tip, you don’t hesitate. So definitely, the smarter you are, the less hesitation you have in what you’re going to do, the better football player you’re going to be. I always prided myself on never hesitating, because I always knew my assignment.”

On where his football knowledge and instincts came from: “Part of it is natural. There’s no doubt about it. But I also had really good coaching in high school. My line coach – a guy named David Mohler – he played at St. Albans, but then he went to North Carolina. Harris Barton was one of his teammates, and he got a lot of his information when he was there, and he brought that to us when I was at St. Albans. So, I never had to really unlearn bad habits. I always knew how to keep a wide base, try to keep my back straight and my head up – all the things that people take for granted that you should know how to do. But I never had to unlearn any of those bad habits that a lot of people had. So, when I got to UCLA, my football IQ was more advanced than some other high school guys because I had tremendous coaching. I want to thank him for that. I can thank him in my speech.”

On what his career plans are for the next five years: “At the present time, I enjoy – because we have an 18-month-old daughter and an 8-year-old son – I’m enjoying just being the dad, staying at home. In the near future, I still have my foundation work as well, in Baltimore. That’s not to say I’m not looking to expand and do a few more things. Exactly what? I’m not sure, but I’m sure things will pop up. As of now, I’m definitely very happy in the life that I’m living because raising children is hard work. (laughter) They’re tough little [rascals], and you have to stay on top of them.” (laughter)

On the influence of UCLA track and field coach Art Venegas: “He was great. That guy – he was a no-nonsense type of guy. He would just say, ‘Look, this is what I need out of you, and you need get it done.’ There are no excuses to be made with Art. He definitely taught me a lot about life, and we had a lot of interesting times throwing the shot with that guy. Next to Terry Donahue, he’s probably my most influential coach in college, for sure. Terry Donahue is No. 1, but Art Venegas is definitely No. 2.”

On his relationship with Art Modell: “Art was just … It’s unbelievable how the first time I met him, how nice the man was. It was about football, yes, but he also wanted to know about you the person. Like, ‘How are you doing, how is the family?’ He was always just concerned about that. When you get genuine, nice people, you just want to try to win for them. I can remember when we won that Super Bowl, how happy he was. We wanted to win for Art because of the things that he had done for us and for the city and for the way he was vilified. We all know that when you talk about genuine people, he’s up there. He’s got to be near the top of the list. I just wish that people would not hold the whole Cleveland thing against him, because he’s done so much for the league. Hopefully one day, we’ll get him recognized again.”

On his thoughts about Ravens fans and interacting with them at his induction ceremony: “Oh, they’re crazy – in a good way. (laughter) We’ve got really some of the best fans in the NFL. I’m just really looking forward to … This moment isn’t really – it’s for me, yes, but it’s for the fans. I played the game because we have such tremendous fans, [and] that’s why we play so hard out there. And just to get the opportunity to be amongst them, and just to thank them for the years of support, I’m really looking forward to it. I really want to share those moments with those guys, because at the end of the day, the fans are the ones who pay the NFL some bills [and] keep the league afloat. You definitely have to appreciate them, especially when they’re as loyal and as great as the fans in B-more are.”

On what people can expect to see from his foundation over the next couple of years: “We’re going to try to do a few more programs. Right now, I can’t tell you off the top of my head exactly what, because right now, I’ve just been so focused on getting ready for this Hall of Fame [induction ceremony]. But we definitely plan on continuing to do the same things we have and trying to upgrade this year. We had to help a community center by getting computers put in there. We’re going to try to do a few more things – just whatever is necessary. We’re a small foundation, but we try to do what we can, when we can. Whenever we have the opportunity to grow, we try to take that.”

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Five Questions for Friday

Posted on 20 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

As we try out a new segment “Five Questions for Friday” on The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction, I wanted to pick readers’ brains on the following topics.

(Update: Thanks to those who chimed in via Twitter, Facebook, and in the comments section below. You can catch Friday morning’s segment HERE.)

I’ve offered my own thoughts on each question and invite you to offer your answers in the comments selection below and I’ll share your insights on Friday morning.

1. If you’re only able to keep two moving forward, who would you choose among Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis?

This question was brought up during Thursday morning’s show by Jonathan in Essex and it’s an intriguing one to ponder, particularly when you acknowledge the potential cost that each of these three young players will carry in the future.

Wieters and Davis are both scheduled to become free agents after 2015 while Machado isn’t currently scheduled to see free agency until after the 2018 campaign.

Machado is the easy first choice and Wieters would have been my second pick in spring training, but my answer may be changing as the season progresses and we see Chris Davis continue an MVP-caliber season. Even if this is Davis’ career year and he settles in as a first baseman capable of simply hitting 30 to 40 home runs in the typical year, he brings the type of power only a handful of players in the major leagues can provide.

However, Wieters’ defense and ability to handle a flawed pitching staff is a major reason why the Orioles have become a winning franchise over the last two years. He never did become Johnny Bench offensively, but he’s still a good offensive catcher with exceptional defensive skills, a rare combination among backstops in the game today.

If I’m choosing now, I’ll keep Machado and Davis, but a big reason why is the Orioles’ window for signing Wieters to a long-term extension continuing to close. The catcher will be 29 when he hits free agency after 2015 and will be looking for an expensive and lengthy contract, which is something I’m not crazy about doing for a catcher who will have much tread worn away from the tires by then.

2. After Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta, which player currently on the roster will be the most productive receiver for the Ravens in 2013?

Smith and Pitta are the easy choices for seeing a spike in production following the departure of Anquan Boldin, but it remains to be seen who else will emerge to become a bigger part of the passing game.

I’m not sold on Jacoby Jones suddenly become a consistent wide receiver in his seventh year despite the big-play ability, so I’ll go with Tandon Doss finally figuring it out in his third year to become a respectable contributor. Anyone in the media will tell you how well Doss has practiced over the last couple years, but limited opportunities and nagging injuries have prevented him from becoming a household name.

Many have written him off after being targeted only 20 times in his career and his disappointing showing in the wild-card round against Indianapolis, but he fits the closest profile to what the Ravens received from Boldin over the last three years. And he’s gotten stronger and quicker since entering the league as a fourth-round pick out of Indiana.

Of course, don’t forget the possibility of Ray Rice becoming an even bigger factor out of the backfield as a receiver, especially with the power-running ability of Bernard Pierce likely cutting into his total number of carries.

3. Of the four Orioles currently in line to be starters in July’s All-Star Game, how would you rank them in order of being most deserving? Which Orioles belong in the Midsummer Classic and which ones don’t?

Of the four players slated to be starters as of the last voting update, Davis is clearly the most deserving. After that, I’d be inclined to go with Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis in order from most to least deserving of the nod.

Jones continues to be very productive in a down year for American League outfielders. Meanwhile, Hardy is hitting .311 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs since May 1 and continues to be an excellent defensive shortstop.

Markakis is a pick based mostly on the outstanding voting efforts of Orioles fans, but little about his solid-but-unspectacular season really screams All-Star starter if you’re looking at his numbers objectively. He ranks 15th among AL outfielders with a .761 OPS this year.

Aside from Davis, no Orioles player is more deserving of an All-Star nod than Machado, who leads the major leagues in hits and is on pace to set a new major-league record for doubles as he already has 33 in 73 games. It’s understandable that he ranks second behind 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for third basemen, but it will truly be a shame if he’s left off the All-Star team.

Wieters currently ranks second among AL catchers and will earn consideration because of his defense and reputation, but his offensive numbers don’t hold up as well this year with a .702 OPS, which ranks behind Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Jason Castro, Ryan Doumit, and Salvador Perez among AL backstops.

4. Because everyone else has asked the question and I want to address it once before moving on, so who would be your four choices for the Ravens’ hypothetical version of Mt. Rushmore?

I suppose Pro Football Talk should receive the blame for getting this discussion rolling for the 32 NFL teams this spring, but I find it difficult to come up with a definitive foursome for a franchise that only has 17 seasons of history to its name.

The first three are elementary with Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, and Ed Reed, but choosing a fourth feels forced. Super Bowl XLVII most valuable player Joe Flacco would be my tentative selection for now, but Flacco has too much football ahead of him to definitively etch him in stone as one of the four greatest in franchise history.

Still, I’d include him before the likes of Ray Rice, Jamal Lewis, Matt Stover, and Terrell Suggs based on the first five years of his NFL career.

The truth is these types of exercises work much better for teams with extensive histories and it feels artificial for even successful teams with shorter histories such as the Ravens, let alone teams lacking any substantial prosperity like Jacksonville or Carolina.

5. What is your favorite superhero movie?

Yes, I realize this isn’t a sports-related question, but I thought I’d throw in a non-sports topic to discuss and I plan to see “Man of Steel” over the weekend.

The newest attempt at a Superman movie has received mixed reviews, but I’ll freely admit to being a nerd for superhero movies such as the Batman trilogy and saw “Iron Man 3” in the theater earlier this spring.

“The Dark Knight” goes down as my all-time favorite superhero movie, but I also found “The Dark Knight Rises” to be much better than many gave it credit for as I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane. It was impossible to match the psychotic performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in the previous movie, but Hardy gave a more than respectable effort playing the homicidal man behind the mask.

How would you answer the five questions posed? Comment below and see if your answers make the cut for Friday’s show.

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