By Jamison Hensley
The Baltimore Sun
January 15, 2007
When Jonathan Ogden hobbled out of the Ravens' locker room yesterday, it might have been for the last time.
The 10-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle said there is a "possibility" he might retire and end his career after 11 seasons.
"I'll take a week to try to let my toe get better and I'll see from there," Ogden said as players packed up their lockers yesterday. "I'll take some time away and re-evaluate some things. That's how it's going to be. I'll see what I want to do next year a little later on."
Ogden, 32, is widely considered a future Hall of Fame lineman after being one of the most dominating blockers of his generation. At 6 feet 9, 345 pounds, he has stood above most offensive linemen because of his rare combination of strength, speed, agility and technical skills.
After hearing talk of his declining play the past couple of seasons, Ogden re-emerged this season as one of the NFL's elite linemen, silencing some of the best pass rushers in the league, from Simeon Rice to Shawne Merriman to Dwight Freeney.
Even though Ogden wasn't at full strength because of turf toe, he limited Freeney to no tackles and one quarterback hit in Saturday's 15-6 playoff loss. It was vindication for Ogden, who has had trouble with Freeney in the past.
But this season also has been one of the toughest of Ogden's career, starting with the death of his father at the beginning of training camp.
Then, the end of the season was marred when he injured the big toe on his left foot, which sidelined him for the final two games of the regular season.
Ogden said there will be several factors that will weigh into his decision, from how the season ended to who is going to be back on the team to how he feels physically.
"A lot of things need to be looked at and thought about - but not right now though. It's way too early," said Ogden, who is one of the team's most emotional players and had an outburst on the sideline during the playoff game. "The season just ended. I'm still thinking about trying to get my toe better."
Ogden said his toe doesn't need surgery, but he doesn't think he'll be ready to play in the Pro Bowl, which will be held Feb. 10 in Hawaii.
"It should heal on its own," he said. "It's just going to take some time."
Ogden has been the cornerstone of the franchise since being the team's first draft pick. The Ravens selected Ogden with the fourth overall pick in the 1996 draft.
He is signed through the 2010 season after restructuring his contract in October 2004. But Ogden, who made $4.7 million this past season, has never been known to be motivated solely by money.
Questions about Ogden's future have increased over the past couple of seasons. In the past, Ogden said he doesn't want much fanfare when he decides to retire.
"I'll probably come up here one day and be like, `I'm done. I'm going home now,'" Ogden said before a group of reporters at the start of the 2005 training camp. "I don't want to come out here and play at a level where I don't feel like I'm giving the team what it needs."
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