When Jonathan Ogden becomes the first home-grown Raven to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame next week, his former general manager will be the one to introduce him.
Ozzie Newsome will present Ogden for his induction speech at the ceremony Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio. It will be one Hall of Famer welcoming in another.
"I chose Ozzie because he brought me into Baltimore," Ogden said during a conference call Friday. "I respect him and we work well together. I could always go talk to him, be honest with him and he's just one of the people that I really respect in the business. It just kind of made sense to me."
Newsome's presentation of Ogden will bring the two Ravens full circle.
Ogden was Newsome's first draft pick when the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996. At the time, Newsome advocated for the team to draft Ogden, despite some urging from Owner Art Modell to go a different direction.
Newsome trusted his draft board and took Ogden, and he went on to become one of the most dominant players the game has ever seen.
"When I got that call I was a little bit in shock, because one, I wasn't expecting to go to Baltimore and two, I didn't really know what to expect with Baltimore," Ogden said, thinking back to draft day. "After I talked to Ozzie and I talked to Mr. Modell, and I got an idea of what their plans were for Baltimore, I got excited after that. I said, 'I'm going to be a part of something here, and I'm going to help us build a winner here.'"
Ogden proved to be a critical piece in building the Ravens into world champions. He anchored the offensive line for his 12 NFL seasons, made 11 Pro Bowls and was a key member of the 2000 Super Bowl team.
Ogden was selected for enshrinement on his first ballot back in February, the same weekend the Ravens went on to win Super Bowl XLVII. Watching the Ravens win the Super Bowl, and seeing his longtime teammate Ray Lewis finish his career on top, was the perfect way for Ogden to get honored.
"That was really just one of those things where you look at it and you're like, 'This can't really be happening,'" Ogden said. "It just seems like a storybook."
The only way the Super Bowl weekend could have been improved would have been if Modell had joined Ogden in the Hall. Modell was one of the 15 finalists, but was not one of the five selected.
"The only thing that could have made the weekend better is if Art Modell would have gotten into the Hall of Fame with me," Ogden said. "That was the only thing that could have been better. Everything else was perfect. You get very few chances in life to say that."