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Number One

By: Shannon Stern

 

                With the first pick of the 1996 NFL Draft, the newly minted Baltimore Ravens chose Jonathan Ogden from UCLA. Many believe that Ray Lewis, arguably the face of the Ravens, was the first ever draft choice, but he was chosen later in the first round. Ozzie Newsome, General Manager of the Ravens, never wavered in his decision. In fact, Newsome, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999, introduced Ogden Saturday night for his own induction.

 

Ogden took to the stage amongst cheers from the crowd. His speech was powerful, reminding viewers why he was the all-star player that he was. Ogden remarked about his childhood, high school career, his time spent at UCLA, where he also played shot-put, and his twelve years with the Ravens.

 

He thanked many of those who helped him along the way, many of whom were in the crowd, cheering him on. In particular, former Head Coach Brian Billick, newly retired Ray Lewis, and Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti were in attendance. Ogden remarked about each of them during his speech, also stating that Lewis and former Raven Ed Reed would join him in the Hall of Fame one day. Ogden talked about Art Modell, the former Ravens owner who brought the team from Cleveland to its home in Baltimore. He firmly believes that Modell deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, as no one can talk about the game of football without speaking of Modell. Last, but not least, Ogden thanked the city of Baltimore. He believes that Baltimore has the best fans in the NFL.

 

Jonathan Ogden is a class act. He started off the Baltimore Ravens’ franchise as number one and left as the same. He was the number one draft pick in the first Baltimore Ravens draft there ever was. He helped lead the Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory in 2001. He was still present off the field during the Ravens second Super Bowl victory this year. He was the first Baltimore Raven to be selected to the Hall of Fame.

 

Number 75. Jonathan Ogden. Always a Raven.