Look closely, M. Ogden: Big brother is watching

Ravens: Marques Ogden, fighting to make the team, has plenty of support from his older sibling, Jonathan.

August 29, 2005|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

On some occasions, you might expect to see a smidgen of jealousy. After all, older brother Jonathan Ogden was blessed with the enormous size, the unbelievable speed and the grace of a ballet dancer.

And younger brother Marques was also blessed with similar characteristics, but not in such great quantity. Yet Jonathan's No. 1 fan might be Marques, even though Jonathan is his harshest critic.

"My grandma told me to never envy anyone, because everyone has their own problems," said the 6-foot-5, 336-pound Marques, 24, who is trying to make the Ravens as a guard. "I don't want to be Jonathan, I just wanna play in this league, and that's what Jonathan is trying to teach me.

"I realize Jonathan is Jonathan, that he is going to be a Hall of Famer, that he's like a 10-time Pro Bowler [actually eight]," said Marques, who is about seven years younger than his 6-9, 345-pound brother. "But he doesn't put pressure on me to be him, he says, `Look, be your own player, do things your way. Be your own man.'"

Marques finally has begun to escape his brother's shadow. He has a decent shot of making the Ravens, even thought it might be on the developmental squad for a second straight year.

But he has already experienced a lot of success. Unlike his older brother, who became an instant starter as the No. 4 overall pick of the Ravens in the 1996 draft out of UCLA, Marques was signed by the team as a free agent last season after being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who originally drafted him in the sixth round in 2003 from Howard University.

Marques came to the Ravens from a small school complete with baby fat. But no player - not one - has put more time in during the offseason lifting weights and conditioning. The Ravens could have charged Marques rent for staying in the weight room so much.

"Having the opportunity to work my butt off is what I relish," Marques said. "A lot of people I know don't get a chance to do this, and they have told me they wished they were me. Some people never get a chance because they mess up in college, or they don't take it seriously or work hard enough. I have to work."

It was a much easier route for big brother. Jonathan was the first draft pick ever by the Ravens. He started at guard as a rookie but moved to left tackle in his second season, where he earned All-Pro honors.

There were never any questions about Jonathan. He has no weaknesses. He is so great, so dominating at times, that he makes it look effortless. Once against Jacksonville, he beat Pro Bowl defensive end Tony Brackens so badly that the Jaguars stopped rushing him and dropped Brackens into pass coverage.

"There might be a slight difference in our chromosomes, just a slight one," said Jonathan, smiling. "The only real difference is that I had really good coaching at a young age, so I was technically prepared when I got to this level. It's kind of like golfers. You learn at a young age, it's easier."

Early in his pro career, Jonathan learned from one of the best in the business - Kirk Ferentz, now the coach at the University of Iowa.

Jonathan always tried to teach his younger brother. When Marques was at Howard, Jonathan would fly him out to his Las Vegas home during the offseason for workouts.

But the tough lessons came early. Very early.

"I hung out with Jonathan all the time when we were young," Marques said. "He would beat me up all the time. I mean all the time. He made me tougher, and to be honest, it was just what I needed."

The younger Ogden is still learning from the other brother. Marques has two offensive line coaches with the Ravens. One is position coach Chris Foerster and the other is Jonathan.

Sometimes Marques gets two film sessions - one with Foerster and the other with his brother. Marques is probably at least another year away from seriously challenging for a starting job.

"He'll sit with me in the back of the meeting room, or at a game, and say, `Do this, do that, or your footwork needs to be this, or be that, or you've got to get your hands up.' He wants me to be good, but not get complacent."

On the team's day off after the preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, Marques spent about 90 minutes working on the one-man sled after some recommendations from Jonathan.

Last season, though, Marques became an extra eye for his older brother on game day.

"Jonathan asked me to watch him because in the heat of battle, you don't always see what is going right or wrong," Marques said. "When he came to me and asked me that, I felt honored. Even though I'm his brother, I still say he is the best offensive tackle to ever play the game."

There is some ridicule for being the little brother. Players sometimes refer to Marques as "Little J.O." But it's nothing Marques can't handle.

"There are much worse things in the world then being J.O.'s little brother," Marques said.

Jonathan has similar respect.

"I couldn't keep an eye on him in Jacksonville," Jonathan said. "Here, I can help him out. He's making progress, and that's all you can ask in this business. Whatever happens, I'm proud of him. He's worked his butt off."

Next for Ravens

Preseason matchup: Washington Redskins (1-2) at Ravens (1-2)

When: Thursday, 8 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 45, Comcast SportsNet/1300 AM, 102.7 FM, 1430 AM, 106.7 FM

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