Three years ago, Ogden acquiesced and bought his first upscale car - a used Mercedes.

"I saved $50,000 there," he said proudly. "I don't want to spend $200,000 on a Bentley, like some guys, or a couple of thousand dollars on a suit. Heck, I can get five suits for that price.

"I'm frugal, not cheap."

Ogden has long been keen on sniffing out bargains, say those who know him.

"Frugal is too generous a description of Jonathan. He's like a giant Jack Benny," said Art Venegas, who coached Ogden in track and field at UCLA.

Ogden's response?

"I know I have a lot of money, but football won't last forever - and a dollar is still a dollar."

And Ogden will always be Ogden, friends say. Unpretentious. Self-effacing. But with a flair for finance.

"If America's economy operated on Jonathan's terms, we'd all be OK," Venegas said. "He doesn't like a lot of debt."

"He has never changed his personality, or his shirts," said Wally Williams, a former Ravens offensive lineman. "A Rolex watch? An earring in his ear? That's not his style. With J.O., what you see is what you get.

"Here's this big guy with a crazy stare and hair that hasn't been combed since the [1996] pro draft. But there's no detail in his life for which he doesn't have a game plan built for success."

Not a big start

Jonathan Phillip Ogden was no Bunyan-sized baby, weighing in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces.

"They tell stories about me having to carry him around in a wheelbarrow," mother Cassandra Ogden said. "He has always been bigger than the clothes for his age, but, you know, he was just a normal-sized large child."

Notoriety came early, to Ogden's dismay. At Stevens Elementary in Washington, D.C., he won a second-grade spelling bee, shyly answering every question with his back turned toward the audience.

"People would look at him and say, `Is he in the right grade?'" then-principal Juanita Braddock said. "Jonathan stood out because he was tall and smart."

Too big for youth football, Ogden played pickup games with a friend, Lee Hall, in the backyard of his family's home in Northwest Washington. At 12, he fancied himself a quarterback and mimicked Joe Montana. On rainy days, they moved inside to roughhouse.

"Me and Lee would get on our knees, throw a Nerf ball around and toss our little brothers to the floor like ragdolls," he said.

At 13, Ogden's parents divorced. Their two sons moved in with their dad "because we're African-American and boys need their father," Cassandra Ogden said.

In seventh grade, Ogden enrolled at St. Albans, a private boys school in D.C. where he mingled with kids named Marriott and Rockefeller. There, by all accounts, he grew in size and stature. Classmates and teachers called him "Oggie," marveled at his football prowess and praised his mannerly demeanor.