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NFL: Maturity leads Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden to Hall of Fame

Dave Mohler remembers his first conversation with Jonathan Ogden.

The St. Albans School football coach approached Ogden, then a 6-foot-6, 300-pound sophomore. You couldn't blame Mohler for expecting a deep, booming voice.

"He had a high, squeaky voice," said Mohler, who coached the offensive and defensive lines at the Washington, D.C.-based prep school. "It was almost something out of a cartoon character."
The voice, which has since changed, may have been the only immature thing about Ogden, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. The former Baltimore Ravens left tackle made 11 Pro Bowls after displaying a preternatural maturity throughout his life.
His football talent was apparent from the beginning.
He quickly became St. Albans' right tackle -- because the quarterback was right handed, the team ran many of its plays to the right -- due to his quick learning curve and a strong willingness to be coached.
"You tell him, 'Keep a wide base and don't put your feet underneath you and get your pad under his pads,'" Mohler said. "It might take two times to get him to do that. He didn't struggle to comprehend the blocking scheme. It's not like he was flawless, but he never didn't get the concept."
Mohler was so impressed by Ogden's first few practices that he told his parents he was working with someone who could become one of the best linemen in the country. He said they didn't believe him.
Ogden received several scholarship offers but chose UCLA because its coaches would let him compete in shot put as well as football. He had been an All-American in both sports in high school.
It wasn't long until football coaches and teammates asked him to stop throwing, said former UCLA men's track and field coach Art Venegas. But Ogden didn't because he had said he would participate.
"I don't think it hurt him as much as he wanted to be happy," Venegas said. "Doing track, it was a way to get in shape for football and get his strength level up. I think it helped his football a lot.
Venegas knew Ogden's future would be football. Ogden was a football player who just happened to be really good at the shot put. And the NFL was taking notice.

While studying UCLA wide receiver J.J. Stokes in 1995, then-Cleveland Browns general manager Ozzie Newsome became intrigued about one of the players in the background: Ogden. Newsome wondered why the junior wasn't entering the draft.

For those around Ogden, the answer was simple: his maturity. He didn't want to jump at the first opportunity at earning money in the NFL. He wanted the perfect opportunity.

"(The Ogden family) had everything totally prepared," Venegas said. "They knew what the future could be like. They wanted him to mature, be able to handle the pressure of the NFL with an extra year of college life and being ready.

"He knew to have a big future he had to improve his skills. He came back to prove something."

Ogden won the Outland Trophy as the best interior offensive lineman in college football and an NCAA national championship in indoor shot put his senior year. Newsome then chose him with the fourth pick of the 1996 draft, making Ogden the first pick in Ravens history after the team moved to Baltimore.
Ogden didn't expect a career in Baltimore.
"All the draftniks, all the people were saying that, 'You were going to go to the (Arizona) Cardinals with the third pick,'" he said. "That was getting beaten into my head the whole time. So when the third pick came up, and they picked Simeon Rice, I was a little surprised."
Ogden became one of the best left tackles ever, and the NFL Network ranked him No. 72 among its top 100 players in 2000. He retired in 2008, after 12 seasons, and will be presented by Newsome.

That comes as no surprise to those who knew the squeaky-voiced Ogden.
Mohler -- whose prediction of his player's potential many years ago came true and who Ogden credited for coaching him -- will be joined by about 20 of Ogden's former St. Albans teammates, coaches and teachers for Ogden's induction.
"It's not like I had some special capacity to discern this, but if you knew anything about football and technique," Mohler said, "you could sit down and say, 'If the cards are aligned and he doesn't get hurt, the talent is limitless.' That's what proved out. He did everything he should've done with his talent.
"The story of his life was that it was unremarkable. He didn't have to be the center of attention, he didn't have to be coddled, he never had a big ego. He was just a student who happened to be the best offensive lineman I've ever seen. He was just Jonathan."

Cincinnati Bengals optimistic Andre Smith will re-sign

After weeks of tough talk, Online Bingo Play Slots Online in US NFL Lines Lewis' optimism Tuesday was notable. It sounds like the Bengals and their talented right tackle have made progress recently.

"I'm hopeful we can get a solution prior to (Thursday's) draft," Lewis said via" I know Andre would like to get it done. I think he'd feel better about things so he doesn't get lost without a chair."

Securing Smith would solve one big need and allow the Bengals to focus on getting the best player available in the 2013 NFL Draft. Safety and running back look like big needs, while Lewis also mentioned linebacker as a spot needing depth.

Bet on Super Bowl LI

Super Bowl LI will be the 51st Super Bowl and the 47th modern-era National Football League (NFL) championship game. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion will play the National Football Conference (NFC) champion to decide the league champion for the 2016 season.

The game is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, and will be the third time the Super Bowl is held in Houston, after VIII in 1974 and XXXVIII in 2004. It will be televised nationally in the United States by Fox