Former Ravens first-round draft pick Michael Oher is two teams removed from his time in Baltimore, but is returning to a second Super Bowl almost directly because of what he was able to do in Baltimore.
Oher, a divisive figure with the Ravens because of his draft status and the lofty expectations placed on him, was personally recruited to the Super Bowl-bound, 15-1 Carolina Panthers by the presumptive NFL MVP, quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton's brother Cecil was on the Ravens practice squad for two years while Oher was in Baltimore, and assured Newton of Oher's quality as a lineman and a teammate.
According to ProFootballTalk, Newton went above and beyond in courting Oher on that recommendation.
"With the free-agent pool, I've sent texts out before, called guys and said, 'We'd love for you to be part of the team,'" Newton said, per PFT. "But Mike was different. I didn't say, 'I want you to be here.' It was, 'I need you.' That's different. Want and need are two different words, and that's what I used in that text, along with other explicit words before the 'need.' And I think he got the feeling from that.
"With my brother playing in Baltimore, I had someone tell me how good he really is," Newton added. "My brother, playing on the offensive line, was around him every day, saw how he brought the professionalism each and every day. That's something that stuck out to him, and he told me, 'Mike is someone who will be a key asset to the team.'"
Oher was a free agent because he was released after one season with the Tennessee Titans, who signed him to a four-year, $20 million contract after his rookie deal with the Ravens expired.
The Ravens, who moved Oher back and forth between right and left tackle during his four years with the team, decided to move on to other options. And in the interim, after what seemed like a downturn in Oher's fortunes, he finds himself looking to add a ring to the collection he started by winning Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens.