Baltimore Ravens What Happened To That Guy Podcast
What Happened To That Guy Podcast
John Eisenberg explores the post-football life of various former Ravens in his new podcast, “What Happened to that Guy?”
It’s a deep dive into the challenging adjustment that players face when the bright lights of the NFL no longer shine on them and they have to deal with the same questions as everyone else: What do I do in life? How do I balance my checkbook? Some have answers ready. Some have to search.
Joined the Ravens as a fifth-round pick in their original draft – the same 1996 draft that produced Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden.
A native of Prince George’s County, he started as a receiver for the Maryland Terrapins for four years, leaving with the Atlantic Coast Conference record for career pass receptions (193).
He also was a track star in college, competing in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprint events for the Terps.
In six years with the Ravens, he caught 143 passes, returned 370 punts and kickoffs, and scored 23 touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1998 and 2001, each time as a punt returner.
In 1997 and 2000, he led the NFL in average yards per punt return. In 2001, he led the league in total punt return yardage.
He still holds most of the Ravens records involving punt returns, such as most career yards (2,730), most career touchdowns (6) and highest career average (11.8).
His career with the Ravens ended when they left him unprotected in a 2002 expansion draft for the Houston Texans. After one year with the Texans, he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003 and 2004, then retired from the NFL.
Episode 2: Peter Boulware
Turned pro after leading the nation with 19 sacks as a junior at Florida State in 1996. The Ravens made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 1997 draft. He never played for another NFL team.
Selected as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1997 and went to the Pro Bowl in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003.
Set the franchise record for most sacks in a season with 15 in 2001. His record stood until Elvis Dumervil recorded 17 in 2014.
Still co-holds the franchise’s individual record for most sacks in a game. He had four against the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 7, 2002. (Michael McCrary also had four against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 8, 1998.)
After sitting out the 2004 season with a knee injury, he was a reserve in 2005 and retired before the 2006 season.
Enshrined in the Ravens’ Ring of Honor in the fall of 2006, less than a year after his retirement.
Retired as the Ravens’ all-time leader in sacks with 70. Terrell Suggs broke his record in 2011.
In 2009 co-founded (with his wife) the Community Leadership Academy, a private school in Tallahassee, Florida.
Episode 3: Kyle Boller
Set California high school records by passing for 4,838 yards and 59 touchdowns as a senior at William S. Hart High School near Los Angeles. PrepStar recruiting service ranked him the nation's top quarterback prospect.
Threw more interceptions (38) than touchdowns (36) in his first three seasons at Cal-Berkeley, but excelled as a senior in 2002, passing for 2,815 yards and 28 touchdowns.
After being selected No. 19 overall by the Ravens in the 2003 NFL Draft, Boller opened his rookie season as the team's starting quarterback. Baltimore had a 5-3 record when Boller suffered a season-ending thigh injury in Week 9.
Started every game in 2004 for a Ravens team that went 9-7 and just missed the playoffs. Completed 55.6 percent of his passes and had more touchdowns (13) than interceptions (11).
Although his playing time was limited by injuries in 2005, he tossed six touchdown passes in back-to-back prime-time home victories over Green Bay and Minnesota. The Ravens traded for Steve McNair in 2006.
Ranks No. 2 behind Joe Flacco for most all-time completions and passing yardage in Ravens history. Ranks No. 3 for most all-time touchdown passes behind Flacco and Vinny Testaverde.
Threw 45 touchdowns and 44 interceptions during six seasons in Baltimore. Went 20-22 as a starter, according to Pro Football Reference.
Played for the St. Louis Rams in 2009 and Oakland Raiders in 2010 and 2011. Retired from the NFL during training camp with the San Diego Chargers in 2012.
Episode 4: Gary Baxter
Earned all-state honors in 1997 as a senior defensive back for the powerhouse Lions of John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas.
In college, started on Baylor teams that never won more than two games in a season, but Baxter amassed six interceptions and 202 tackles.
Three months after winning Super Bowl 35, the Ravens took Baxter with the No. 62 overall selection, a second-round pick, in the 2001 Draft. Todd Heap was the team’s first-round pick that year.
Started 14 games at cornerback in his second season in Baltimore (2002) and started all 16 games in 2003 and 2004.
Intercepted three passes in 2003 and finished second on the team in solo tackles in 2004, trailing only Ray Lewis.
Best known for a hit that injured Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Maddox in 2004, prompting Steelers to give then-rookie Ben Roethlisberger a shot.
Signed a six-year, $30 million contract with the Cleveland Browns during free agency in 2005. Deal included a $10.5 million signing bonus. Only played eight games for Cleveland before injuries ended his career.
Now CEO and co-founder of Project Rose Research Institute for Sports Science. His business partner is Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell.
Episode 5: Matt Birk
Native of St. Paul, Minnesota, was all-state in football and basketball at Cretin-Derham Hall High School.
Earned all-Ivy League honors as an offensive lineman for Harvard. Graduated from the school in 1998 with an economics degree.
His hometown Minnesota Vikings selected Birk in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft.
After two years as a backup, he became the Viking’ starting center in 2000. That year, he started 16 games, made the first of his six Pro Bowl appearances and earned All-Pro honors.
Also played for the NFC in the Pro Bowl in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. (Missed the 2005 season with a hip injury.)
Signed a three-year contract with the Ravens as a free agent on March 4, 2009. Signed another three-year deal with team before the 2012 season but only played one year before retiring at age 36, shortly after the Ravens won Super Bowl 47.
Never missed a game as the Ravens’ center, making 64 straight starts over four seasons.
While with the Ravens, won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2011. His Hike Foundation worked to improve literacy among at-risk youth in Baltimore.
Co-founded Unity High School, a Catholic school in the Twin Cities. It opened in the fall of 2019.
Meet John Eisenberg
John has written 10 books and more than 4,000 columns during a sportswriting career that began four decades ago. A native of Dallas, Texas and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he started out covering the “Friday Night Lights” for the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald. He joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun in 1984, and for the next 23 years, he wrote columns for The Sun about the hometown Orioles, Ravens (starting in 1996) and Maryland Terrapins, while also covering major events such as the World Series, Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Olympics and soccer’s World Cup.
He has been honored with several firsts in the prestigious Associated Press Sports Editors’ contest. Since 2009 he has written columns and game analysis on the Ravens’ website.
John’s books have covered such subjects as Vince Lombardi’s first year in Green Bay and an historic Civil War-era horse race. Pro Football Journal ranked his book Cotton Bowl Days as one the 25 best books ever written about pro football. His book The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Baseball’s Most Historic Record, published in 2017, was a finalist for the Casey Award, which honors the year’s best baseball book, and was shortlisted for the PEN/ESPN Literary Sportswriting Award, which honors the year’s best sports book. John’s most recent title is The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire. Published in 2018, it is widely regarded as a seminal look at the early days of pro football.
John has also written for Sports Illustrated and Smithsonian Magazine, and taught sports journalism at Towson University. He lives in Baltimore with his wife of 35 years, Mary Wynne Eisenberg. They have two grown children and a grandson.