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Oher, it turns out, is an old school guy, right down to the black high-top cleats he sports on the field. Hmm, who else wore those?
The irony is that if any player on the Ravens has diva resources, it's Oher. There was a bestselling book about his remarkable life, and of course, also an Academy Award-winning movie. More recently, he published his own bestseller.
I hate to break it to Ray Lewis, but Oher is by far the most famous guy on the team.
When people find out what I do, that I'm around the Ravens every day, their first question usually is, "Have you met Michael Oher? What's he really like?"
I feel like my response disappoints them. I tell them he is a polite young man, and the book and movie and all that stuff never come up in conversation. It's like that is another person. When he is with the Ravens, Oher is strictly a football player who wants to do his job.
But his approach does not disappoint the Ravens. To the contrary, they wish every player had his work ethic and team-oriented vision.
McKinnie's signing and Oher's position switch mean the Ravens potentially are better in 2011, as opposed to 2010, at three of the five slots on their line. McKinnie has played left tackle longer, and better, than Oher. Oher is better at right tackle than Marshal Yanda, a natural guard. And Yanda is a much better right guard than the departed Chris Chester.
Whether it all comes together depends on whether the massive McKinnie is motivated and sufficiently well-conditioned to play an entire game. We'll see. The Ravens are optimistic, thinking McKinnie won't want to let down his fellow Miami Hurricanes, Lewis and Ed Reed.
But make no mistake, the whole process was based on Oher giving a thumbs-up to the switch.
He didn't have to do it. There are potentially negative ramifications for him. He might never go back to left tackle, where the pay is better. Jared Gaither certainly wasn't happy about making the same move a year ago.
But Gaither's reaction was precisely why the Ravens moved Oher ahead of him. Gaither had talent, but a player's mental approach can be just as important as his talent, and Oher's approach is what they want ... what any team wants.
He puts his head down and works hard, puts the team first, never causes a fuss. He's terrible as a diva, just no darn good at all.
He worked in the newspaper business for 28 years as a sports columnist, with much of that time coming at the Baltimore Sun. While working for the Sun, Eisenberg spent time covering the Ravens, among other teams and events, including the Super Bowl, Final Four, World Series and Olympics. Eisenberg is also the author of seven sports-themed books.