Late For Work 5/16: Ogden Elected To College Football Hall Of Fame

Lewis turned 37. Remember what that means? Newsome not considered ‘traitor’ in Cleveland.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 at 9:18 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ogden Elected To College Football Hall Of Fame

Ravens former offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, one of the best to ever play the position, has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The former UCLA star will be inducted this September with 13 other college players.

A four-year starter at left tackle for the Bruins, Ogden’s number has been retired at UCLA and he has already been inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame (2006).

He was awarded the Outland Trophy, which is given to college football’s top lineman, and was named a unanimous first-team All-American. 

The next question to be asked is whether Ogden will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is eligible for the 2013 class and is considered a strong first-ballot candidate.

The Ravens used their first-ever pick on Ogden in the 1996 draft (fourth overall). Staying in Baltimore his entire 12-year career, Ogden was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and was a nine-time All-Pro.

In 2008, the team honored Ogden by inducting him into the Ring of Honor.

Ogden will be joined by the following former standouts in the College Hall of Fame: including Cal quarterback Steve Bartkowski, BYU quarterback Ty Detmer, Rice quarterback Tommy Kramer, LSU running back Charles Alexander, Purdue running back Otis Armstrong, Syracuse wide receiver Art Monk, USC tight end Hal Bedsole, Notre Dame tight end Dave Casper, Colorado guard John Wooten, Kansas State linebacker Mark Simoneau, Texas Tech defensive end Gabe Rivera, Colorado State defensive back Greg Myers and Air Force safety Scott Thomas.

Three former coaches will join the group: Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee), Jimmy Johnson (Miami and Oklahoma State) and R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M).

Lewis Turned 37. Remember What That Means?

Ray Anthony Lewis turned 37 yesterday.

But it wasn’t just another ho-hum birthday for the Ravens linebacker. It carried special significance.

You remember what Lewis said about his current age, right?

I can’t see myself playing football past 37,” he told NFL Total Access a little over a year ago.

Lewis exceeds expectations every time he steps onto the football field, but if he were to continue playing beyond this season, he would exceed his own.

He got out in front of what could have been relentless speculation about playing in 2012 by making it clear the night of the Ravens’ AFC championship loss that he would be back this season.

“Football is too fun for me, man,” Lewis said in January. “Whenever God says time is enough, then it’s enough. But when you’re having the fun that I’m having, and you’re playing at the level I’m playing at, do it until you can’t do it no more.”

In 222 career games, Lewis has racked up 2,004 tackles, 40.5 sacks, 31 interceptions and plenty of mileage on his body. Only kicker Jason Hanson has played more games among active players. Entering his 17th season, no other great linebacker comes close to playing as long.  Mike Singletary retired after 12 seasons, Jack Lambert after 11 and Dick Butkus called it quits after nine.

“At some point, Lewis is going to have to say goodbye to football, although there haven’t been any recent indicators he will be calling it quits anytime soon,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “His contract runs through 2015, and the Ravens showed confidence in Lewis when they once again didn’t draft his eventual replacement in April. …

“Lewis is now entering his 17th season in the NFL. And, after turning 37 today, you have to wonder whether this will be his last.”

Newsome Not Considered ‘Traitor’ In Cleveland

Several Browns fans who attended Ozzie Newsome’s speaking engagement in Cleveland Monday don’t consider him a “traitor,” according to Akron Beacon Journal.

The Ravens’ general manager played all of his 13 NFL seasons for the Browns and was inducted into the Hall of Fame after his storied career with the team.  But when Art Modell relocated the franchise to Baltimore in 1996, Cleveland’s beloved Newsome came with him.

“[F]rom the day the Browns left town, Newsome has largely remained a favorite son, exempt from the hatred that prevented Modell from setting foot in Cleveland again,” wrote Marla Ridenour. “Perhaps it is because Newsome played for the Browns for 13 years and never put on another NFL uniform. Perhaps it is because he has always conducted himself with class. Perhaps, above all, it is because no one can blame [him].”

Modell made Newsome the league’s first African-American general manager and Ozzie said he doesn’t believe that would have happened if he had stayed with the Browns because the team brought in new administration at the time.

Hensley ponders what might have happened to the two teams had Newsome decided to stay in Cleveland.

“Newsome is right. He probably wouldn’t have ascended to the general manager’s role as quickly if he chose to stay in Cleveland,” Hensley wrote. “But just think of how the fortunes of the two franchises would have changed if Newsome didn’t leave with the Ravens and eventually worked his way up to being the Browns’ top decision-maker. Baltimore probably wouldn’t have won a Super Bowl in 2000, and Cleveland likely wouldn’t be a perennial last-place team.”

Players Under Most Pressure

There are several NFL players and coaches that will be feeling the heat in 2012.

Kevin Kolb is expected to step up after the Arizona Cardinals invested heavily in him last offseason to solve their problem at quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers hope new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley can step in his first year and fill the shoes of Bruce Arians. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan needs to win his first playoff game. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick needs redemption after an 8-8 finish.

Without even playing a snap in the NFL, rookie Courtney Upshaw’s name was listed among these and other veteran superstars as one of 13 players who will be facing the most pressure in 2012.

Only two other rookies made the list, as both are expected to turn around their franchise – the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III and the Browns’ Brandon Weeden.

CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge believes that the pressure to step in for the injured Terrell Suggs will be as great as any player can feel.

“Someone has to take the place of Terrell Suggs, the Ravens’ best pass rusher and one of the game’s top impact players, and Upshaw pulled the short straw,” Judge wrote. “It’s tough enough to make it in the NFL as a rookie, but to step in for the Defensive Player of the Year? Good luck, Courtney. …

“Somebody must do heavy lifting in Suggs’ absence, and Upshaw’s the first one in line. He thought there was pressure when he sat in the Green Room during last month’s draft, waiting to hear his name called. He was wrong.”

Quick Hits

  • Ravens former running back Ricky Williams doesn’t believe there is a link between concussions and brain damage. “I don’t buy it,” Williams said, while appearing on ESPN2′s Dan Le Betard Is Highly Questionable.  “I’m only speaking from my personal experience, because I haven’t allowed myself to buy it, and I haven’t been affected.  Yes, I’m aware that football is a rough sport, but instead of saying, ‘Oh — I’m doomed to brain trauma,’ I said, ‘What can I do about it?’  And I just started taking care of my body.  I found people, places, and things that really helped me — again, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in 10 years, but I look at the other things I’ve learned about, and the way I see the world.” [ESPN]
  • Calvin Watkins listed five potential troublemakers for the Dallas Cowboys, who are scheduled to battle the Ravens in Week 6, and Upshaw is already on the team’s radar. [ESPN]
  • Ravens’ breakout player in 2012? Defensive end Pernell McPhee. [FoxSports.com]
  • Former Ravens scout and NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranked the AFC North as the league’s fifth-best quarterback division. [NFL.com]

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