Thank you very much. Thank you very much, wow. Whew, a leadoff, all right. First of all, I want to thank you, Ozzie for that fantastic introduction. I've often thought about that day back in 1996 when you drafted me instead of Lawrence Phillips, I think that worked out well for everybody (Joking). I'm very grateful being in Baltimore with you for all these years, particularly Baltimore selector, Scott Garceau, you guys have a difficult job. Every year it seems like the job gets tougher and tougher.
I'm just thankful to be here along with these other gentlemen, Larry, Cris, Warren, Bill, Curley and Dave, what a tremendous new class. To be up here with these luminary Legends of the game, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with these guys is just unbelievable.
You know, as I thought about what I wanted to say to you today, one of the first things that I realized was that I've never really thought that my story was that interesting. I mean, I had great parents, went to great schools and had great friends, so I thought I'd just tell you a little bit about myself and what makes me, and what I think made me a Hall of Famer.
As I examine my career, I look back and I kind of say this is where it was supposed to end for me, but not because of arrogance or cockiness, but it's because I was taught lessons. Yes, I was blessed with tremendous God given talent, yes, but talent is isn't enough. A lot of people have talent, but they don't always live up to it.
For me, it's about trying to maximize every little bit you have. It's about trying to give it your all. If you strive for perfection, maybe, just maybe, you can become great. You don't just develop these habits naturally. These habits are instilled in you by people. Please allow me to take a few minutes to salute these people. Without these individuals and the things they taught me, I would not be here today.
The first two people I'd like to acknowledge are my grandmother Margie Sneed and my father Shirrel Phillip Ogden, both of whom have passed away in recent years. My grandmother was a very, very sweet woman. She would always tell me, Jonathan, you are special. S-P-E-C-I-A-L. She would always spell it out for me. It was probably one of the first words I knew how to spell as a kid. I didn't always know what she meant, but now I do; and grandma, I want to say thank you.
My father, I'm not going to cry here, my father, Shirrel Phillip Ogden, was absolutely the most influential person in my life. He was the guy I wanted to be like. He was the guy that I wanted to make proud. He is the absolute biggest influence on my life as far as the way I try to be a man and the way I try to raise my son and the primary reason why I decided to play football. I wish he could be here today. I know he's looking down on this and he's proud of me. He really was a special person, and I miss him. Thank you, Dad.
My mother, Cassandra Ogden, is here today, and I'll start by saying, Mom, I love you tremendously and appreciate everything you've done for me. No matter what the situation, you were always there for me. There was never a football game that I didn't see and/or hear you screaming in the stands. I want to thank you so much for the emphasis that you and dad placed on education and your decision to send me to St. Alban's School. That was a great place for me. I got a great education, learned a thing for myself, and it's also where my football career really began.
At St. Albans, I had a great of great teachers, friends and coaches, but two that I want to take a second to mention are my head coach Dick Allanson, and my line coach, David Mohler. Coach Allanson was your prototypical high school coach. He would yell at you and come over and kick you in the butt, and after that he'd come pat you on the shoulder, a fiery guy who could always find a way to motivate us. He instilled in me the necessary passion and desire to play the game, and I want to thank him for that now.
Now, my line coach, David Mohler, if you ask him, he'll tell you he taught me everything I know (laughing). Well, you know what, while it wasn't everything, you definitely laid a foundation that was so strong that everything else I learned afterwards was just adding on to what you taught me. You instilled in me the great importance of great technique. As my career progressed, I never had to unlearn any bad habits because of what you taught me, and I thank you for that.
To the rest of my teammates and friends at St. Albans, many of whom I see out here, you guys have always been great, and I love you guys as well.
Now, when it comes to UCLA, first I want to thank all my teammates, many of whom I see out there in the audience made the trip here today. I wouldn't trade my time in Westwood with you guys for anything. I also want to thank a few administrators there, Frank Stevens, Mark Dellins and your respective staffs. You guys really made my life at UCLA very special. And to all my line coaches, yes, in four years I had four coaches on the line, Ed Kazarian, Bob Palic, Don Riley, Mike Sherman, you each brought something special to the table, gave me things to think about, and taught me how to approach my craft and make it my own. Thank you all.
You saw it on the screen, a lot of you didn't know until you saw it, but I was an NCAA indoor champion at the shot put as a senior. And my throws coach, Art was also a huge influence in my life. He's the man that taught me how to not make excuses and just get the job done. As a freshman, he almost kicked me off team because he thought I didn't care enough. I had to go out and prove to him that I wanted it badly, and I thank you for that, Art.
But the coach at UCLA I'd like to he especially thank is Terry Donahue. Coach Donahue could not be here today. But he had a great saying for every Bruin who played under his nose, “in football, as in life, when things are going good, they're not really going that good, and when they're going bad, they're not really going that bad.” I always thought that was a great motto of how to approach the game, recognizing the importance of putting things into perspective, and maintaining an even keel. That was always the way to perform at your best. So thank you, Coach Donahue.
The next person I'd like to thank is Marvin Demoff. Marvin is one of the finest agents out there. He gave me guidance when I considered turning pro after my junior year. Instead of focusing on trying to get me as a client, he gave me the advice to go back to school, play out my senior year, and then I'd make up the money and then more.
That was the way I was leaning in my mind, but I always respected and appreciated you for telling me that, and I want to thank him for that and everything else he's done for me over the years. Thank you, Marvin.
All right. On to Baltimore. My goodness, where do I begin? Okay. First and foremost, I'm going to thank Mr. Art Modell. Without a doubt, one of the most generous and kindest individuals that I have ever met. I really wish he could be with me today. Someone once said to me, if you can't tell the history of the game of football without mentioning this person, then they are without a doubt a Hall of Famer. When there is no way you can tell the history of pro football without mentioning Art Modell, so hopefully one day we can get him here because of what he's meant to the league has been tremendous.
To Steve Bisciotti, I especially want to thank you for continuing on with that fantastic legacy. Being a fantastic owner and leader of one of the greatest organizations in the NFL. 2013 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Thank you for allowing me to continue to be a part of an organization after retiring and awarding me with a 2013 Super Bowl ring. You, Dick Kass, Ozzy, Kevin Burn, David Modell, Ed Carol, Bill Tessendorf, Mark Smith, and the entire Ravens staff have always treated me with class and dignity, and I thank you for that. I would also like to thank my Ravens coaches, Ted Marchibroda and Brian Billick.
Brian, we won a Super Bowl in 2000. You were the man who really helped extend my career by bringing the practice schedule that everyone's using today. You had the fore thought to see that you didn't have to beat your players to death in practice in order to play physical on Sunday.
People would always say we had some of the softest practices; but on Sunday, we were always one of the most physical teams and that was because of the way you prepared us and thank you for that. To my line coaches, Jim Coletto, Kurt Ferentz, Chris Foerster, thank you all for allowing me to tell you how I was going to play on the field on Sunday, and then actually not giving me too much grief about it. Because at the end of the day, you all knew that I was going to go out there and get the job done, and I appreciate that as well.
To my offensive lineman, Jeff Blackshear, Wally Williams, my late friend, Orlando “Zeus” Brown, you guys taught me the game in the early years. The other guys I won the Super Bowl with, Edwin Mukitalo, Jeff Mitchell, Harry Swayne, Mike Flynn, what a great run we had in 2000. To the rest of my teammates, to Ray Lewis, and to Ed Reed, both of whom will be here, five years for you, and whenever Ed retires. What tremendous times we had playing with and for one another. I know many of you are here and I want to thank you guys for being such great friends.
I want to take a moment to also thank Rick Hyde, my friend and attorney who has been with me since I came into the league. And to all the people who are integral in my life helping me with my post career aspirations like running my Jonathan Ogden Foundation and programs to help keep kids in school and educated, Aaron Roques, Kelly Bagdsarian, Ash Narayan, DrewHyde, thank you all.
Now the most important people in my life today, my lovely wife, Kema, who puts up with me and my constant golfing and me going to yoga and going right back to the golf course. She's always been a loving and supportive wife. You've always been there for me through all the ups and downs, babe, and I really appreciate that. Thank you.
To my son, Jayden, right there. You're it, Buddy. You are my best little buddy in the world. You know that. You are my life. You are my shining star. You are my best friend, and I love you to death, little buddy. And to Mya, my 18 month old, she's a little too young to understand what's going on right now, but they're both great kids and I love them truly. It's my family that could not be here, Kaylee, my brother Marques, and to my family that is here, my grandfather, John Ogden, my uncle Andre Ogden, Steve and Lee, the rest of my cousins and family, I really love and appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you all.
And finally, I just really want to thank the fans and the city of Baltimore. When I came to Baltimore in 1996, we had no team, we had no history. We didn't even have team colors. We just had a name. I can remember at the draft I had that black jacket with the white letters that say Baltimore Ravens, and the white hat with the black letters that said Baltimore Ravens.
In the back of my mind I was saying I don't really know where we're going with this right now, but Ozzie who just drafted me assured me our goal is to make a winner here, and I told him I want to be a part of that.
When we got there, those first few years at Memorial Stadium, the Ravens were new to everybody. It was a new team and we were new to the city. We were all rookies together. I watched us grow, myself as a player and the fans as an NFL city from infancy to one of, if not the best, football towns in the National Football League. With undoubtedly the best and most passionate fans that I've ever seen, and I want to thank you guys for being there. It was for you, who at the end of the day, I enjoyed performing. And you guys are the reason that we could go out there every Sunday and lay it all on the line because we knew you appreciated everything that we did, and you appreciated everything that I did.
I am so very proud to have been the Baltimore Ravens first ever draft choice, and I am so humbled to be the Baltimore Ravens first ever Hall of Fame inductee. Thank you all, thanks.
Video Presenter: Ozzie Newsome presents his former player, Jonathan Ogden