Former Baltimore Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden was the first member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2013 to speak at tonight's enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio. Ogden opened with a joke.
After being introduced by Hall of Fame tight end and current Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, Ogden thanked Newsome for selecting him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft over Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, who went No. 6 to the St. Louis Rams.
“I think that worked out for everybody,” joked Ogden.
Of course, Phillips' NFL career was marred by off-field incidents that limited him to 35 games over four seasons with the Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, Ogden would go to 11 Pro Bowls during his 12 seasons, all of which was spent with the Ravens.
Ogden also advocated for the late Art Modell to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.
"There is no way you can tell the story of pro football without Art Modell. Hopefully one day we can get him here," said Ogden.
The comment drew cheers from a large contingent of fans from Baltimore, but there was also a spattering of boos from the Canton, Ohio crowd that doesn't think too highly of Modell, who moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore after the 1995 season. As unappealing as Modell being recognized in the Hall of Fame may be to Browns fans, his contributions to the growth of the game, largely in his role as the chairman of the broadcast committee and the creation of "Monday Night Football", is certainly worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Ironically, if it were up to Modell in 1996, the Ravens would have drafted Phillips with the first pick in the new franchise's history. Newsome talked Modell into Ogden and the rest, as they say, is Hall of Fame history.