Ogden weighing odds

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

`Still a chance' he could return

Pittman steps out of shadows

December 31, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

A resident of Las Vegas, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden figures he has a bead on what the oddsmakers will be saying about his possible return to the Ravens.

"Oh yeah, they'd bet against me," he predicted. "Probably strongly against me. But that's why we have odds. There's still a chance."

Ogden, who is set to play in his 11th Pro Bowl in his 12-season career, has said that he will make a decision on his future in the NFL during the offseason, weighing his passion for the game against the physical toll the profession has taken on his 6-foot-9, 345-pound frame.

If yesterday was his final game in the league, Ogden prepared a statement for Ravens fans.

"I would just say thank you for being out there, watching me," he said. "It's been a pleasure playing for this city, this team, these fans. I've watched this team grow from a team that moved from Cleveland to playing in Memorial Stadium to probably the best 12th man in the game. This city and me, we've grown together as a team, so I'm just grateful to have been a part of it."

Finding meaning

In the short-term, David Pittman had the kind of showing that he can build upon in the offseason. Long-term, the 23-year-old cornerback might have cemented at least one more season - and maybe his future - with the Ravens.

In what was billed as a meaningless game, Pittman put on a meaningful performance in the Ravens' 27-21 victory over the AFC North division champion Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium yesterday.

Pittman, who earned his first career start, opposite Corey Ivy, collected two interceptions, including one with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter that sealed the win for the Ravens.

"It felt good," he said. " ... Just doing basically what you're coached to do. Listening to the coaches and being where you're supposed to be and just letting everything else take care of itself."

Pittman, who was notified earlier in the week that he would be starting, has not justified the third-round pick that the Ravens invested in him last year. Pittman was deactivated for every game last season, could not vault past 30-year-old Ivy as the defense's nickel back and watched as teammates such as Derrick Martin and Willie Gaston earned starts before he did.

"I don't [pay] pretty much attention to the critics," Pittman said. "I just look at it as I'm going to go out there and basically just do my job."

Yesterday, Pittman finally seemed to validate the front office's thinking as he had seven tackles (second only to middle linebacker Nick Greisen's 11) and broke up two passes.

"He has a lot of athletic ability," Ivy said of Pittman. "If he continues to go out there and just practice and work hard and stays even-keeled, he can be a heck of a corner."

While yesterday's outing could be viewed as an extended tryout for the other 31 teams in the league, Pittman said he hopes he warrants another year with the Ravens.

"As I said before, they brought me here for a reason," he said. "The Ravens know what they're doing when they go out to get guys. Every guy in that locker room has the potential to make plays and be a big-time player in this league, and the guys showed that out there today."

Century mark

Veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason became the first player in Ravens history to catch 100 passes in a season, with his six receptions for 72 yards giving him a career-high 103.

"Only a few get the opportunity to catch that many balls in this league," Mason said. "If you look at the history of the game, not many have been able to catch 100 balls in one season, not even the greats. To be mentioned in the same breath as a lot of these great receivers is a great honor."

Mason credited fellow receivers Mark Clayton and Devard Darling, who caught a 15-yard touchdown pass yesterday, as well as rookie quarterback Troy Smith, for helping him reach the milestone.

`It was fun'

Adam Terry wasn't joking after all.

The offensive tackle - who laughed about wearing a No. 84 jersey, a number usually reserved for tight ends and wide receivers, last Thursday during practice - lined up at tight end on several occasions during yesterday's contest.

"It was fun," Terry said, adding that he hadn't played tight end since his senior year at Queensbury High School in New York. "I knew coming in that I was just going to block. It was good to be out there a little bit. It was tougher to hear, but it was fun."

Terry said there was only one passing play designed for him in the offensive playbook. "But something really bad had to happen in order for me to get the ball," he joked.

Still kicking

Matt Stover, who will turn 40 next month, has no plans to retire.

"As long as God continues to give me the talent and the desire to play, that's key," said Stover, who went 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts, making him 26-for-31 this season. "You've got to have the talent, but do you have the desire? I continue to love this game. It's a privilege to play. Ozzie [Newsome] and Brian [Billick] continue to give me the opportunity, and that's a wonderful thing."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Don Markus contributed this article.

BRIGHT SPOT

Most receptions in a season by a Raven:

103 -- Derrick Mason, 2007

86 -- Mason, 2005

76 -- Michael Jackson, 1996

75 -- Todd Heap, 2005

74 -- Qadry Ismail, 2001

Most yards receiving in a season by a Raven:

1,201 -- Michael Jackson, 1996

1,105 -- Qadry Ismail, 2001

1,099 -- Derrick Alexander, 1996

1,087 -- Derrick Mason, 2007

1,073 -- Mason, 2005

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