Jonathan Ogden Will Retire Tomorrow

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via www.baltimoresun.com

Jonathan Ogden, the greatest offensive lineman ever produced by the UCLA football program, will announce his retirement from professional football tomorrow.

J.O. spent his entire career with the Baltimore Ravens. He played on one Super Bowl championship team and earned 11 Pro Bowl spots in 12 years.

ESPN has the story.

And so does the Baltimore Sun.

"A player like J.O. is a franchise player," said Jason Brown, who played alongside Ogden for the past two seasons. "You can't put a value or a price tag on him or what he means to our program. He's a great standup guy and also [had] invaluable leadership."

Although Ogden could have played for several more years, the imposing 6-foot-9, 345-pound lineman leaves the game with little else to prove.

He won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in January 2001. He helped pave the way for Lewis' 2,066-yard season in 2003 -- the second-highest rushing season in NFL history. And he was voted to 11 straight Pro Bowls, three shy of the league record.

In 2003, Ogden was named the No. 1 player in the NFL by USA Today Sports Weekly. In a poll of players before the 2007 season, he was voted the most intimidating offensive tackle.

"He's a true freak of nature," former coach Brian Billick said of Ogden in 2003. "The biggest indicator of J.O.'s ability is every week you look at film and at no point do you see anything that a defense can do to negate J.O. That's an incredible luxury."

It became routine to watch Ogden take down defensive ends with one arm, sprint to the outside on a sweep play to be the lead blocker 10 yards downfield or plow down two defenders on a goal-line play.

At UCLA, Ogden opened holes for Sharmon Shah (aka Karim Abdul-Jabbar). Shah confirmed once that the reason he left for the pros a year early was because "Big John wasn't going to be around to block for me anymore."

Ogden was also an All-American shot putter at UCLA. His #79 is retired by the Bruins and he is a member of the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

My take on Ogden is that he may have had the greatest NFL career of any Bruin ever, with the possible exception of Troy Aikman.

Go Bruins, J.O., go Bruins.

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