Paul and Imelda Osemele are now divorced. Osemele hasn't seen his father in five or six years, but the two have talked and are on relatively good terms.
"We are both grown men and he did what he felt he had to do to provide and contribute," Osemele said. "We have different mindsets about the expectations for being the head of a household. We butt heads on that, but there is really no bad blood. We understand that we see things a little differently. We respect each other."
As for his three older sisters, they read about their younger brother's exploits through Google alerts and text messages. Considered a project by some draft pundits, Osemele has wowed team officials with his physical skills. Veteran Ravens center Matt Birk marveled about how Osemele has shifted from right tackle to left guard with little drop-off. Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that Osemele has better footwork and flexibility than the organization thought when they drafted him.
Harbaugh has said all along that his best five offensive linemen will play, and Osemele clearly looks the part. He has started all three preseason games, two at right tackle and one at left guard.
Osemele said starting the Sept.10 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals would mean a great deal to him and to his mother, who will make her first trip to Baltimore to attend the game. But whether he runs out of the tunnel as a starter or reserve, he'll already have come so far, and left so many obstacles behind.
"I can't see myself doing anything else," Osemele said. "On the days that are hard, I remind myself that God put me in this position and he wouldn't put me in a situation that I couldn't handle. That's the attitude I go into things with. I'm confident, knowing that this was pretty much what I was born to do."
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