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Flynn, RE: Ogden


Legendary 75 Section  | **Jonathan Ogden Bio** asked me to write a column regarding the retirement of my longtime teammate Jonathan Ogden. I have to say, the decision wasn't much of a shock to me, to be honest.

I first got the text a couple of days ago, and he told me he was having a press conference to announce his plans. We've talked back and forth throughout the offseason, so I knew what those plans were. I'm sure it was tough for him, but J.O. knew what he had to do. It was time.

First, there was the fact that he played through some tough injuries the past few years. Some guys think that even though they can't play as well as they did when they were 24, they can still contribute in other ways. Jonathan is the type of guy that was a student of the game. It's amazing how much knowledge he had about football. He could be an offensive coordinator right now, I'm sure of it.

But for J.O., he was frustrated if he couldn't play as that 24-year-old. He just demanded perfection, and you saw that every time he stepped on the football field, even in his final season.

Second, if you look at his career, J.O. didn't having anything left on the field to prove, whether it be a Pro Bowl or Super Bowl - although I'm sure he'd like to win another championship. He'll go down as one of the best to ever play the game.

Really, what's left is the financial aspect, but he's been the best in the game and surely has been paid as such. He's got his health and a family now, so he has other priorities in life now. You have to respect that.

The biggest thing about football players is that it's not about what you can do during the season. We're all good athletes, otherwise we wouldn't have made it to the NFL. It's really about the work that goes into preparing to perform at a high level during the season. Jon didn't want to go out there and just be "a random guy." Jonathan Ogden has a legacy to uphold.

There were a lot of great memories from our 10 years playing on the same offensive line. Thinking about the best memory, the easiest to tab is always going to be the Super Bowl.

But, one of the most satisfying years we had was in '03, when we led the league in rushing. At the time, we moved the ball by running it. That's all. Teams prepared for that every week. We took pride in the fact that we - as a line - had to get the job done.

Of course, there was the 295-yard game against Cleveland, but the biggest game of the year was the finale in Pittsburgh, when Jamal [Lewis] finally got over the 2,000 mark. Being out there in the huddle late in the game was a great moment. The Steelers did *not *want to let Jamal get there, but we looked around, looked in J.O.'s eyes, and realized that we were part of something special.

Off the field, we pretty much had lockers next to each other for most of my career there. That was definitely an interesting experience for me. You could always judge J.O.'s moods in the morning, so you had to get a feel for him right off the bat. Knowing him for as long as I have, and even doing things off the field with him, I could give him a hard time because I wouldn't give him an inch. I think I might have stayed there because I could keep him honest.

It was funny how you get used to the routine. Every morning we had the "State of the Union" address about what we had going on and what happened yesterday. Edwin [Mulitalo] was in that mix, too. It was always fun to hear what he had to say behind those closed doors, especially because everything he's gone through, I went through.

Now, I didn't have as many books in my locker as he did, but that was because he never read those books. I bring in one book, read it, and then it goes back home. Even so, he was always reading Star Trek and Star Wars books, so I wasn't into the books he was packing. Don't buy into the hype that he was so smart. Just kidding.

I think across the league, J.O. is going to be known as the standard-bearer for all offensive tackles. When it comes to height, weight, speed and athleticism, there was no one - and might never be anyone - like him. He's going to be a Hall of Famer, and people are always going to compare other tackles to him.

For the franchise, his legacy is going to be even more than that. Being the first pick in Ravens history, arguably the greatest player in Ravens history, a Super Bowl winner and such a durable and dedicated player, J.O. was a backbone of the franchise. He is what the Ravens franchise was about - stability and hard work and passion.

To J.O., I hope he knows what an impact he had on those of us with the privilege of playing alongside him. I'm sure we'll talk about it on the golf course, but I wish him the best in the future.

Like Frank Sinatra said, "He did it his way." He ended it on his terms, and that's important. His accomplishments, personality and legacy all speak for themselves.

Good luck, J.O.

Legendary 75 Section | **Jonathan Ogden Bio**

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