RING of honor induction: jonathan ogden
On his first reaction to hearing about his induction into the Ring of Honor:"I was kind of expecting it, but, even still, it was a great honor to hear. Just to know that my name is going up there [is special]. We've got Earnest Byner, Mr. [Art] Modell, Mike McCrary and Pete [Boulware]. Just going in there with those guys I played with [and] Mr. Modell, obviously, is one of the best owners in the business. To know my name is going to be up there for years to come, it's just really an honor. I expected it, but when it came it was still kind of a shock. So it's a really good thing."
On the importance of getting to play his whole career in one place:"It's huge, it's huge. You talk to a lot of guys around and you just know, especially in this day and age, a lot of guys just don't get a chance to finish – look at Brett Favre – they don't get a chance to finish with the team they made their name with, or they come back for a year to sign and say they retired someplace else. I got to play 12 good, solid years here and was able to step away from the game and know that this will always be my town, my team, the Ravens. I watch all the games still, and I feel like I'm out there. It's a blessing, really, when I look at it, in this day and age, in particular."
On whether he misses it on Sundays;"Do I miss it on Sundays? No. No, I don't. I miss some of the camaraderie that you get with the guys. But when I watch the game, I say to myself, 'You know what? I could still probably play,' but I don't miss waking up Monday morning feeling beat up. I just don't miss the pain that this game brought. My toe just really wasn't ever going to let me be the player that I wanted to, so I'm OK with it. But every now and then, I'll watch Jared [Gaither] or Adam [Terry] or any left tackle, and I'll sit there and tell myself, 'I could've done that, better than that.' But that thought comes and goes real quick."
On his anticipation of what it will be like to be on the field Sunday with everyone cheering for him:"Oh man, I just anticipate that last time running through the tunnel. I'm going to soak it up, just wave. I don't have a dance or anything like Ray [Lewis], but I'll try to… I'll go out there, really, and just thank everyone. To me, I'm just grateful because I want to thank everybody for being my fans for the last 12 years here. I just hope that when I get on the field, you just feel like… It's probably the last football thing I'll do, really, so I just really want to savor every moment I had. Like last year on the field, I took the picture with my son. I'm going to try to do the same thing and enjoy it that way."
On how he can say he doesn't have a dance:"I don't have a prepared… Well, I've got the Gebco [commercial] dance. If I broke the Gebco dance out, I don't know what people would say, though. I'd need a little more money from them for that. Who knows? You never know with me. I might go out there and do something silly."
On how much he thinks about five years from now and the Pro Football Hall of Fame:"I think about it. I can't help but think about it now that I'm retired. You know, if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I know Randall McDaniel played a long time and is not in the Hall of Fame. A lot of good players aren't who deserve to be. Art Monk just went in. There are no guarantees. Would I like to be a first-ballot entry? Of course I would. But just the fact that I'm in the conversation, at this stage, is good enough for me. When I first started playing football, it was for fun, obviously. Then it became college and a job, but you never really focus on Canton. I don't know anybody who's playing the game who'd look that far ahead. Now, I'm just kind of like, 'Canton is around the corner. Well, let's just see what happens.' That's kind of the way I approached football, same mentality: Just be ready and hope for the best."
On what he's doing these days aside from golfing:"Well, it's funny you should ask that. I am doing a lot of radio work here in town. I've got a wine, a charitable wine for my foundation that's coming out. In fact, let me show everyone. I just happened to have a bottle. It's got my picture. It's all for my foundation, which helps kids out [at] Patterson High School in this area. It's really good. You all should try it. It's coming out soon. A little shameless self-promotion there. Also, I've got my boxing event coming up next week, charity boxing. Just trying to stay involved in the community, really. Nothing too heavy, but just trying to make sure that I still do my charity work and work on my golf swing, do some yoga. That's pretty much my day. You know what's funny? It's a little boring being retired, but I'll take it, though. I worked hard enough for 12 years. I'll take a little bit [of a break]. I'll find that 'it' thing within the next couple years, I'm sure. But right now, [I have] plenty on my plate."
On what he thinks about pro athletes who retire then un-retire:"I think they're not offensive linemen or defensive linemen. I know that. I can understand how, from the position of quarterback or a basketball player, you step away from the game for whatever reason. I don't know why [Michael] Jordan stepped away or Brett Favre… Their bodies don't take that beating that linemen take. You know, you're never going to see a guy like me, Willie Roaf, guys who stepped away, come back because of the beating we take physically. Other sports, it's not quite as physically demanding on the body, day in, day out, practice, games, everything. But if you can come back and play like Brett Favre is playing, more power to them, or [like] Jordan did, hey. You just aren't going to get that out of an offensive or defensive lineman. I promise you that."
On whether he admires T Willie Anderson still playing in his 13th season:"We were drafted the same year. I was fourth, he was 10th. Every person is different individually. You know, Willie, his injury was different than mine. [His] mentality is different than mine a little bit. Like I said, I probably could have still played, but I just didn't have… My health was a big factor with my toe. But Willie, he's got that experience. He's got that 12, 13 years experience. He's doing a good job for the boys right now. Hey, more power to him coming into a new system and everything at 13 years in the league. That's tough. I've got to get him a lot of praise for that."
On how he feels health-wise:"I feel OK. My toe could not, I couldn't play a football game. It's getting slowly better. I can run a little bit now a little better. Just the thought of playing football doesn't work."
On if he was involved in the tasting of the wine:"I was definitely involved in the tasting. It's a good bottle of wine. It's not a great bottle, but it's a really good bottle, a 2005 cab [cabernet]."
On whether he would have a tasting for the press:"We might be able to arrange that. We'll see. You guys are working, though. I don't know."
On if he sees himself coaching or working in football, if it is still in his blood at all:"Oh yeah. The game itself is still great. The game helped shape who I am. I probably would never see myself doing anything at the professional level. I'd never say 'never,' but it doesn't seem to be the way I would lean. It would probably be more towards high school because it just seems like you can affect people's lives more at that level. Here, it's more about the business of wins and losses. There, it's more about the business of life, trying to teach a young person how to deal with other people. That seems more along the lines of what I would want to do. My high school coaches are the ones who had probably the biggest impact on my life outside of my day, so I'd probably go that route."
On whether he keeps in touch with any of the guys and offers advice:"Yeah, I let them know. I just talked to Marshal Yanda before he got hurt, telling him about how he had to be ready for [Albert] Haynesworth and Shaun Rogers. I try to give the guys a little bit of insight on the guys that I've played that they're going up against. I didn't have a chance to talk to Jared before the Indianapolis game, but had a chance to talk to him, though. He's doing a good job. It's tough. He's 22 years old. But they're coming along nicely. I think all the knowledge I hopefully imparted on them last year is sticking with them. They look like they're doing a good job so far this year."
On who the best left tackle out there now is:"Besides me? (laughter) No. Well, he held out. Jason Peters, last year, was probably playing as good as anybody. But this year, he had that holdout. Flozell [Adams] is playing pretty good. Walter Jones. All the good ones are getting older right now. You've got a couple young guys. Joe Thomas, he's playing pretty good. Right now, it would probably be Joe Thomas and Jason Peters in the near future. Guys like Flozell Adams, Walther Jones, they're on their last legs, so to speak. I'm not trying to say it because we're in Baltimore, but Jared has the ability, physically, to be right up there with them. He just has to grow and mature. Like I said, he's 22."
On what Gaither needs to do:"He just has to become a student. It's hard because I didn't really understand. I played four years of college football at UCLA, and then I come here, and it took me a couple years to really understand what it takes to get ready to play each and every week. It's not playing one good game. It's playing 16. That's the tough part. It's like golf, playing 18 good holes. I can play one. Same thing in football. You've got to be able to do it week in, week out, every play. That consistency comes from learning, from studying, and just becoming more sure of yourself out there so that, when something happens, you don't think, you react. That comes with time. That's going to come with time. As long as he's willing to pay the price in the classroom and on the field, he'll be fine."
On if he thinks offensive line is the toughest position to learn:"I think so. In this day and age, quarterback gets quite complicated with all the sophistication of the offenses, but offensive line is right there with quarterback. You have to know protections. You have to know the scheme of the blocking [with] defenses changing on you constantly. Then, on top of that, you have to be ready to be aggressive as soon as the ball is snapped. You can't hesitate, so it's tough. That's the biggest thing with young players. They hesitate. It takes a little time, but once you get it going… Like our group now, I'm watching Ben [Grubbs] play, and he's starting to pick it up, too. He's playing good ball now. That second [or] third year is when the light clicks on, so to speak, and you actually figure it out. Running back, you can kind of come in, and they tell you to run this hole. You let your natural athletic ability take over. But it's not the same, especially [on the] offensive line, you're always facing… That's another difference between college and the pros. College, you might have 11 games, you might have a guy who really gives you a challenge two, three times. In the league, it's every week, and that's one thing that young players really have to learn. Every week, you've got to bring your 'A' game. It just goes back to consistency."
On what opponent he respected most and who he looked up to among old school offensive linemen:"Old school offensive linemen, I always thought two guys: Jim Lachey, because I grew up in D.C. watching the Redskins, and he was one of the best. It was around the time when I guess I was in high school, and I was really starting to watch the O-line. Him and Anthony Muñoz were really the standard-setters, as far as when I was really watching. You could throw Richmond Webb in there also because he did a great job pass-blocking for Danny boy [Dan Marino] in Miami. There are a lot of guys who I had a lot of respect for. The guys who I'd see the most, I would see Tony Brackens, and I had his number, but you always had to be ready to play that guy. Simeon Rice is another one. Dwight Freeney. Clyde Simmons, he seemed to get a sack on me every game when I was playing guard. At the end of the day, though, my whole philosophy, like I said when I retired, was if I was on top of my game, I wasn't worried about anybody. I respected them all, but feared none of them."