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A CLOSER LOOK

Wednesday - 10/11/2000

A CLOSER LOOK: Jonathan Ogden

When starting Baltimore Ravensí offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was growing up, like many natives of Washington, DC, he was a big Redskins fan.

"Of course, you had to be," said Ogden with a smile. "Everybody in DC was either a Redskins fan or hated the Redskins. I loved the Redskins. I couldn't help it growing up around there."

This week the 6-9", 340 pound Ogden will return to his childhood days, as he makes his second trip to Landover, Maryland to take on his once beloved Washington Redskins.

"For me, the first time was probably more special because it was our second year in the league, and playing against the Redskins, although I wished it could have been RFK Stadium," said Ogden. "This is a big game because it's that Baltimore-Washington area rivalry going on. It's not the same guys that I grew up loving, but it's still the same uniform and I am going to go out there and take them like any other team."

Ogden has helped the offensive line pave the way for Ravens running backs this year, as they have rushed for 701 total yards in six games heading into this week's contest with the Redskins.

With a man Ogden's size out in front blocking, it has made rookie running back Jamal Lewis' adjustment to playing in the National Football League easier.

"The man's a beast," said Lewis. "He just dominates over there. Nothing seems to come around his end and he holds down his side of the line. I just know I don't have to worry about anything when I am going to his side. You feel secure as a running back and you know you don't have to do too much cutting back. You just use him when you go to that side because he's big, tall and he's going to work for you."

Ogden believes that the team's early success is due to its balanced attack, both offensively and defensively. "We have a strong rushing attack, we have a threat to go deep because we have a lot of speed and the defense is playing well. That's the key to winning in this league, being balanced on both sides of the ball."

Despite being named to three consecutive Pro Bowls, Ogden hasn't let it go to his head. He is still hard at work, to improve his game and create havoc on opposing defenses.

Said Ogden, "I am always trying to improve, because somebody is always trying to come up and take your job. So, my motivation is to be the best that I can be. I don't think I've reached that yet."

With locker room nicknames such as "Beast" and "Giant," outside of football, Ogden has a soft spot for the youth. A big portion of Jonathan's time is consumed by his community involvement. Jonathan has a foundation in his name, and takes pride in what he can do to better his community.

"It's important at least to help whenever you can, because a lot of kids don't have good role models to look up to," said Ogden. "Parents should be role models, but sometimes you need to give little kids some outside influence. My father was my influence, but the Redskins were very involved in the community and you would always see Darrell Green involved."



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