CANTON, Ohio -- It has been a banner 2013 for the Baltimore Ravens.
First, the Ravens won their second Super Bowl in franchise history in February. Then, future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis retired as a champion at the top of the NFL ladder.
On Saturday, Baltimore’s landmark calendar year continued as former left tackle Jonathan Ogden became the first homegrown Raven to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not only was Ogden a first-round pick, but he was the Ravens’ first pick in franchise history in 1996.
Ogden helped lift the Ravens to where they are today. He put a bow on his 12-year football career Saturday by also becoming the first player enshrined of the 2013 class.
“I just really want to thank the fans and the city of Baltimore,” Ogden said Saturday. “When I came to the Ravens in 1996, we had no team, we had no history. We didn’t even have team colors. We just had a name. … The Ravens were new to everybody.”
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome introduced Ogden. According to Newsome, who is one of the NFL's top talent evaluators, Ogden played left tackle as good or better than player in history. Newsome said the keys were Ogden’s immense size and the feet of a defensive back.
Ogden reached 11 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons and won a Super Bowl. He was drafted in the first round in 1996 along with Lewis, who was in attendance and will surely follow Ogden to Canton in five years.
Odgen began his speech Saturday with a joke. He mentioned how former running back and draft bust Lawrence Phillips was also being considered by the Ravens with their first ever pick.
As Ogden mentioned, Baltimore made the right choice and the rest was NFL history.