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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant
Jared Gaither, a second-year player out of Maryland, will have the first shot to replace retired left tackle Jonathan Ogden.

Gaither, who was selected in the fifth round of last year's supplemental draft, started two games at left tackle as a rookie. He was has the size of Ogden at 6-9, 350 pounds, but it's unknown whether he has the same commitment.

At his farewell news conference, Ogden offered some advice to Gaither.

"I will tell him, 'Don't try to be me; be Jared,' " Ogden said. "And hopefully Jared will be as good, if not better, one day. And doing the best you can will generally be enough. You don't need that extra pressure."

This could be the biggest adjustment for the Ravens this season.

In 11 seasons as the Ravens' left tackle, Ogden went to 11 Pro Bowls and started 160 games.

Gaither, 22, a second-year player out of Maryland, has two career starts.

"Jared Gaither has jumped into left tackle," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's young. He's not J.O. by any stretch, but he's had a chance to watch J.O. for a year and he's got some of the same kind of skill set that J.O. has. He's got a long way to go to become a great offensive tackle in this league, but we're really pleased with his progress."

The Ravens thought they were close to having Ogden, 33, back a few months ago.

He visited team headquarters in mid-March, sitting in on an offensive meeting with coordinator Cam Cameron and watching a practice.

"There was a glimmer in his eye," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I think there was a feeling ... that with these changes, J.O. might come back and finish this journey with us. But that euphoria left when he left here."

About a month ago, Newsome called Ogden and asked him for a final decision.

Ogden paused and said, "I'm done."

His hyperextended toe had failed to fully heal, which meant Ogden wouldn't be able to play at his Pro Bowl level.

He wanted to hold off an official announcement until after the Ravens' final full-team minicamp to avoid being a distraction.

"Could I still have gone out there and played? Yes, and I probably could have done an adequate job," Ogden said. "But, in my mind, I wouldn't be helping the team as much as I needed to."

Ravens defensive lineman Trevor Pryce remembered his only game against Ogden, playing him as a member of the Denver Broncos in 2005 just one season removed from having an injured back.

Said Pryce: "I tried to throw him off. ... In the middle of the play, he said: 'You can't do that. Your back's hurt. Are you all right?'"

Pryce then added, "In my 11 years of playing, he is by far the best I've ever played against."

Newsome agreed with that assessment.

"I've had the opportunity to be in this league for over 30 years, but in my opinion, there is not a player that played his position as well as Jonathan Ogden played his position," Newsome said.

A perfectionist throughout his career, Ogden didn't want to tarnish his reputation with a less-than-stellar season.

"(Offensive linemen) don't have stats like every other position," Ogden said. "So, it's more about how much people respect you."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 27, 2008

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Brendon Ayanbadejo Name: Brendon Ayanbadejo
Position: LB
Age: 31
Experience: 6 years
College: UCLA
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