Club tackling speculation that Ogden might retire


December 25, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

With the Ravens set to conclude the 2007 season with a regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, speculation about offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden's career path has become rampant.

As proficient as Ogden has been at warding off pass rushers, Brian Billick tried to do the same yesterday when the subject of Ogden's possible retirement was broached during the coach's weekly news conference.

"We've all kind of kept that at arm's length," Billick said. "Jonathan will decide what he wants to do. Certainly, his Pro Bowl selection [Ogden's 11th in his 12-year career] is an indicator to everybody that he can continue to play probably for as long as he wants to. I don't know that Jonathan's made a definitive decision. I don't know that he's shared that with anybody. So we'll give him the proper respect that he's due to kind of decide what he wants to do going forward."

Ogden, the overall fourth choice and the franchise's first pick in the 1996 draft, has been the cornerstone of the team's offense and has been regarded as the game's prototypical left tackle.

But a hyperextended big toe on his left foot has robbed Ogden of some lower-body power and some games. Expected to play Sunday, Ogden will have played in just 11 games this season. His previous career low of 12 came in 2004.

Ogden told The Sun this month that he was contemplating retirement at season's end. Billick said the organization would wait for Ogden to make a decision in the offseason.

"There's no question that he can continue to play. No one would argue that, I would think," Billick said. "It's a matter of - and everybody enjoys playing - do I want to do these things in the upcoming offseason that I know that I have to do to continue to play at a high level? That's usually what the question always comes down to for an athlete at this point in his career going forward. And that's not a question that he'll have an answer for two days, three days, three weeks, a month after the season, I wouldn't think."

A few more snaps

Billick took the unusual step of calling two timeouts during the Seattle Seahawks' final drive of Sunday's 27-6 loss. The timeouts helped the Ravens get the ball back with 1:54 left.

Normally, such measures would earn criticism from the opposing coach, but Billick said he explained his reasoning to Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren after the game.

"Mike understood," Billick said. "I told Mike, `Hey, man, sorry, but I need to get these young guys as many snaps as I can.' And Mike was, `Hey, been there, know that. I know exactly what you're talking about.'"

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