NEW ORLEANS - The first draft pick in Ravens history became the team’s first player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On his first time on the ballot, longtime Baltimore left tackle Jonathan Ogden was named one of five modern-era members of the 2013 Hall of Fame class Saturday.
Ogden spent his entire 12-year career with the Ravens after being picked fourth overall by the team in the 1996 draft. He was named to 11 Pro Bowls and was a four-time first-team Associated Press All Pro.
At the time of his retirement in 2007, Ogden was tied for the Ravens record in seasons played and ranked second in club history with 177 games played.
While Ogden will be inducted this year, former Baltimore owner Art Modell will not. Modell did not make the cut to 10 finalists when the group of 15 was pared down earlier Saturday.
Ogden will be joined by longtime NFL coach Bill Parcells, former Vikings wideout Cris Carter, former Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen and former Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
Three of the four first-timers on the ballot were admitted.
Update: So Ogden said he was so nervous about whether he’d be elected that he was walking Bourbon Street in New Orleans at 2:30 a.m.
“That was the only way for me to keep myself from getting too stressed out last night,” he said. “I was like, ‘Let me just walk the streets.’ When you’re nervous, this is a good town to be nervous in because you can always late (at) night, just kind of just go look at people and just take your mind off of things. So now I don’t have to do that tonight thank goodness.”
Ogden was shown on camera celebrating with a number of people right after the announcement. It was a moment he was waiting for.
“It’s such a nerve-wracking thing just waiting for win, lose or draw,” he said. “Your resume is done. You did all you can do and to have things be out of your hands is just really a unique experience, really stressful in some aspects.
“I just try to just be even keel, not really stressed. It was not easy because so many people are sending me texts, like good luck or congratulations. I was like, ‘There’s no chicken hatched yet. Don’t count them until it’s time.’
“So I just kind of watched golf today. That is what took my mind (off it). I watched Phil Mickelson play golf. That is what took my mind off of this this morning because if I had been watching the NFL Network or any of the sports programs, I might’ve gone nuts and just pulled all my hair out.”
Is the timing of his election to the Hall more special because the Ravens are here in the Super Bowl?
“Oh, without a doubt,” he said. “It would’ve been really great if Art would’ve got in. Obviously, Art Modell drafted me to Baltimore, was one of the best owners, a deserving Hall of Famer. But like you said, a lot of guys are deserving. But with the Ravens here in New Orleans, me being the original draft pick of the Ravens, I just want to thank the city of Baltimore, the fans, Ozzie Newsome, who is tremendous.
“Hopefully I get a chance to go out there on that field tomorrow and see Ray Lewis play in his last game while I get to go into the Hall of Fame while he’s playing in the Super Bowl. We both came in in ‘96, started the Ravens together and kind of a full-circle weekend here.”
Ogden was picked in the same draft as Ray Lewis, so is it strange that this is happening the same weekend that Lewis is set to play his last game?
“I’ll be like, ‘Man, how did you last 17 years?’ I had a long career, obviously, a good enough, Hall of Fame-worthy career, and he’s still out there going, and obviously he’ll be in here as soon as he’s eligible as well,” Ogden said. “But it will be really just a surreal, just an absolutely exciting moment. This is going to be one of the highlights of my life, really.”
Ogden said although he heard people call him a first-ballot Hall of Famer since his retirement, he was never completely sure it would come to fruition.
“What happens is you hear everybody say, ‘Oh, you’re a first-ballot for sure, you’re a first-ballot for sure.’ But I don’t know what you guys are thinking in that room and I know there are a lot of deserving guys who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “All those guys on that list are Hall of Famers. So you never really know. A lot of good, well-deserving guys did not get in on their first ballot, so I was just kind of like of the mindset, my resume is done. I did everything I could do, so no matter what happens, positive or negative, I was going to be happy either way.”
Ogden said his mother was his first phone call, in part because his wife was in transit to New Orleans from Las Vegas at the time of the announcement.
“I had to call mom. She was watching on TV. She was screaming, yelling, acting crazy and I was so happy,” he said.
Ogden was shown in the green room jokingly tapping on his watch to illustrate his impatience as the NFL Network drew out the announcement for dramatic on-air reasons.
“It was well worth it. I was just stressing out a little bit,” he said. “That was like the most stressful I’ve been in a long time. I told somebody it was like going to the hospital with your wife when she’s having a baby. You’re just sitting there. You can’t do anything about it, but it’s a very important moment, so you’re just really just sitting there hoping things work out for the best.”
Next up is induction. So what size jacket will the 6-foot-9, 345-pound Ogden need?
“Big,” he said.