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Jonathan Ogden: Ronnie Stanley Is 'Hopefully the Next Me'

Left: Former Ravens T Jonathan Ogden; Right: T Ronnie Stanley
Left: Former Ravens T Jonathan Ogden; Right: T Ronnie Stanley

John Harbaugh was hired as the Ravens' head coach in January of 2008. Jonathan Ogden retired five months later. Since then, the Ravens have been looking for their next Ogden.

After the Ravens reached a five-year contract extension with All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley on Friday, Baltimore has its long-term anchor at one of the game's most important positions.

Ogden was (as he often is) on the golf course Friday when the deal was inked, and he reacted with more than a golf clap.

"I'm very happy for him," the Hall of Famer said. "He's a really good young man. He's the type of guy that you can always root for."

Ozzie Newsome made Ogden the first selection in Ravens history at No. 4 overall in 1996. A decade later, Newsome picked Stanley at No. 6 overall. Both times, as Stanley brought up Friday, there were people trying to lobby Newsome to go in another direction.

Picking a blocker that high in the draft isn't the sexiest of moves, but it has been a huge hit both times.

"I'm just happy that the organization has faith in me. And I always had faith in myself to be that guy at left tackle, knowing it's one of the hardest positions on the field," Stanley said. "It's very inspirational to have a guy like 'J.O.' be part of the history and someone to kind of look up to and just emulate that style that he brought. He set the foundation for left tackles in this organization."

Ogden played 12 seasons in Baltimore, went to 11 Pro Bowls, was a four-time first-team All-Pro, and won a Super Bowl. And he was paid handsomely for it.

Before the 2000 Super Bowl season, as he sought his second contract, Ogden stated that he wanted to become the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman. He ended up signing a six-year extension worth a reported $44 million.

Stanley nearly hit $100 million in new money with his five-year extension, according to reports. The price is steep, but it's worth it.

"You've got to have a great left tackle," Ogden said. "They've been looking. They had Michael Oher. Jared Gaither came through. But to finally get that guy who can be, hopefully, the next me, it's been something they've been looking for for a while."

Stanley didn't start raking in the awards immediately in his career, but he could end up being a perennial Pro Bowler just like Ogden. Last year, he didn't allow a single sack and was named Pro Football Focus' pass blocker of the year.

"His game, his athleticism and his determination really stick out. When I watch him, you can tell his athleticism is off the charts," Ogden said.

"As a person, he is one of the most genuine, kindest people in football that I know of. He doesn't define himself as just a football player. He has other interests, and I really appreciate that about him. He's really been kind to my son and I'll never forget that."

Stanley knows his work is far from done. He's just 26 years old, and it would be fair to say he hasn't hit his prime yet. Stanley is a perfectionist, constantly working on his technique to strengthen his game. Every year, Stanley has gotten better.

Now the questions are how much he can still improve, whether he can maintain an elite level year after year, and how long he can do it. Can Stanley one day end up in the Hall of Fame with Ogden?

"Perhaps. You never know," Ogden said. "It's a career achievement; not a short-term thing. But if he continues to play at this level and continues to improve even, then you never know what can happen. I'll be rooting for him. It would be great to have, after Marshal Yanda, another [Ravens] lineman in there."

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