Shortly after legendary former Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden learned before the Super Bowl in New Orleans that he had been chosen for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he had a celebratory toast with general manager Ozzie Newsome.
It was Newsome who made Ogden the first draft pick in franchise history in 1996 prior to the Ravens' inaugural season instead of troubled Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips.
"If we don't pick Jonathan Ogden with that first pick, I may not have this job," Newsome said. "We played against some of the best pass rushers, but when we had Jonathan, we didn't worry about those guys."
Now, it's Newsome who will be presenting Ogden when he's inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton this weekend.
"We found a nice, quiet spot and we toasted, and we had a big hug," Newsome said. "Then I started to leave and he said, ‘I have one other thing,’ and I said, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘I want you to present me.’ It was a powerful moment, very humbling moment at that point. To be selected is really, really something special.
"I don’t think I can put it into words. It’s so different. It's like watching a child grow up and then maybe seeing them go off to school for the first time.”
Osemele makes healthy return
Ravens starting offensive guard Kelechi Osemele returned to practice for the first time since straining his right hamstring last Thursday.
He made it through practice Monday with no setbacks, an encouraging development.
A second-round draft pick from Iowa State, Osemele started every game during the regular season last year at right offensive tackle.
He shifted to left guard, where he now lines up, during the Ravens' postseason march to a Super Bowl victory with Michael Oher shuffling from left tackle to right tackle and Bryant McKinnie entering the starting lineup at left tackle.
The Ravens were being careful with Osemele.
"It's so early, we wanted to make sure we have everyone healthy," Osemele said. "We're being smart with all of our starters right now. It went well. It felt great to be out there with the guys again and get comfortable at the position again. The most important thing is the mental part of it is being sharp, so you can keep up with Joe's audibles."
Adjusting to more pads
The NFL has mandated that all players except kickers and punters wear thigh and knee pads this season. It's not a popular rule change with most players.
"I don’t know what I can say without getting into trouble, so I don’t want to say anything," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "It's weird because I've always worn knee and thigh pads until I got to the league."
When Smith and fellow receiver Tandon Doss were rookies three seasons ago, Boldin chided them for wearing the pads.
"We jog onto the field, and Anquan was like, ‘What are you all doing?’" Smith said. "I was like ‘What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘Go take your pads off. Receivers don’t wear pads in the league.’ We had no clue.
"Now, I feel like I put them back on, they don’t even feel right anymore. I guess it will save you from a thigh contusion or a bruise or something. It’s not going to help with anything else.”
Wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Maryland) remains sidelined. "He had a tough shoulder injury," Smith said. "He will be back hopefully next week, and then he'll get back next weekend." ... Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata experienced a mild scare when he went down with what first appeared to be a left knee injury, but shook it off. "Yes, there's nothing there," Harbaugh said. ... The defense was judged the winner of practice. To the victors goes the spoils: ice cream. Not that Osemele wanted to partake. "I got to watch my figure," he said. "I can't be eating ice cream."
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