To woo Jonathan Ogden, show him the offense


February 10, 2007|By Mike Preston | The Baltimore Sun

Somewhere in Honolulu, Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden is playing golf, according to general manager Ozzie Newsome. He might be contemplating retirement. Here in Baltimore, Newsome waits for the word, but he is hardly sweating.

There has been a lot of speculation, but no official word from Ogden to Newsome. After the Ravens lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the playoffs almost four weeks ago, Ogden said he would make a decision within a week. Newsome didn't expect that to happen then, and he still doesn't have a timetable.

"I still think the best way to handle it, having had to go through it at some point myself, is to treat a man like a man, and we'll allow everybody to make their own decision when they want to make those decisions," said Newsome, a former Cleveland Browns tight end who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ogden is no Willie Roaf, the former Kansas City Pro Bowl tackle who announced his retirement shortly before the Chiefs opened training camp this past season. But you can pretty much predict what is going through Ogden's mind these days.

In his 11 seasons with the Ravens, he has always been frustrated with the team's offense and play-calling. During the Colts game he was livid, rightfully so, that coach Brian Billick declined to run the ball in the second half. Several times during the season, Ogden had animated exchanges with offensive assistant coaches and Billick on the sideline about the play-calling.

Before he makes a decision, Ogden is going to find out what changes will be made with the offense. He'll try to leverage management to bring back veterans and old friends like center Mike Flynn and guard Edwin Mulitalo for one more season.

If he doesn't like what he sees, he'll retire. Can he walk away from a $6.11 million salary? Yes, absolutely. Ogden is one of the richest offensive linemen ever to play the game, and he has saved a lot of money. He's cheap. But with 10 Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl ring, all he cares about is another ring, not just the money. Ogden has clout. Let's not forget that when the players orchestrated the firing of offensive coordinator Jim Fassel last season, the trigger man was Ogden.

He'll probably make his decision before the draft. If he does retire, it will be strange seeing some player other than No. 75 playing left tackle for the Ravens.

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