Ogden enjoys rich dreams before his debut as Raven Status as millionaire catches rookie napping

July 17, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Jonathan Ogden hopped on a plane in Los Angeles late Monday night, made it here early yesterday, signed a contract that made him a rich man, then went to bed during the first training-camp practice in Ravens history.

By noon, the team's top draft pick was smiling, though looking a little groggy, and sounding eager to put on some pads, which he donned for his first practice at Western Maryland College yesterday afternoon.

Ogden, 6 feet 8 and 320 pounds, was by far the biggest and most expensive rookie on the field. His mission: Start living up to the expectations that compelled the Ravens to make the former UCLA All-American tackle the fourth player drafted in April, before signing him to a seven-year contract that includes a $6.8 million signing bonus, an average salary of $2.2 million, and is potentially worth $19.5 million.

"I'm sure the expectations are great, but I don't think anyone has greater expectations than myself," said Ogden, who will move from left tackle to left guard. "My goal is to come in and perform at the same level I did in college. I'm really happy to be in here on time. Baltimore was really willing to work with Marvin [Demoff, Ogden's agent], and I commend them for that."

After yesterday's morning practice, Ogden officially was introduced as the newest Raven, as team owner Art Modell, head coach Ted Marchibroda and Ogden's parents, Shirrel and Cassandra, sat with him.

Ogden arrived after a mostly sleepless red-eye flight.

"Jonathan's mom asked that he get some sleep," said Modell, patting an embarrassed Ogden on the knee. "We sent him to his room with some milk and cookies.

"I think 25 of the 30 first-round picks in the league are still unsigned, and both of our No. 1s [linebacker Ray Lewis being the other] are into training camp on time. That says something about our commitment."

Ogden, who sat in on about half of the negotiations between Demoff and team vice president David Modell, said he sensed in the middle of last week that his deal would be done without a training-camp holdout.

"When David stayed in L.A. for an extra day, I knew I was either going to be here on time or just a day or two late," said Ogden.

Besides learning the new techniques, blocking assignments and nuances that will come with his new position, Ogden said his biggest adjustment will be the six weeks of training camp. He said the typical training camp in college or at St. Alban's School in Washington, D.C., ran for two weeks.

"No one is more delighted than I am to have Jonathan here," Marchibroda said. "He's going to enter a different era, and he's got about six weeks to get ready for it."

It was quite a day for the Ogden family. Before the player's official arrival, his parents walked out on the practice field to meet Modell during the morning workout. Under a brilliant morning sky, they laughed, talked football and about what the future might hold.

Shirrel Ogden, who is a financial planner in Washington, said he hopes his son will one day draw comparisons with Jim Parker, the Colts' Hall of Fame tackle. He also thought about having a 21-year-old son who will soon be set for life financially -- with a little bit of dad's advice.

"We went into this thinking it would be a long, protracted process, and it was anything but that. The Modells are first-class people," the elder Ogden said.

"Jonathan is going to make more money in one fell swoop than I've made in my whole life, and it's unbelievable to know that, with a few reasonable investments, he can be financially secure for life.

"I asked him how did it feel to be the first high school kid in his class to make a million dollars? I also told him to expect a call from the UCLA alumni people real soon."

Pub Date: 7/17/96

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