Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis were both drafted by the Ravens during the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft -- Ogden at No. 4 and Lewis at No. 26. Ogden played his entire 12-year career with Baltimore and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
My first memory of interacting with Ray was right after we were drafted. We were in Westminster, Md., in a hotel. We were on the road, being roommates and just talking about what we wanted to do and how we wanted to try to bring Baltimore a title. We talked about how we wanted, first of all, to bring respectability and eventually wanted to become one of the best franchises in the NFL.
When did I know how great Ray was? I don't know if there was really one moment. It was just the consistency. The way week in, week out he would show up and make plays and be in the right spot. And how he became the leader of that defense and how you could just see how the veteran players really started to respect him really early on, even as a rookie, but really in that second year and third year in particular. So it wasn't one moment, it was just a whole bunch of things.
It's just been great to have played alongside Ray. We both had similar passions. His was more outward, but it was just great to know that there's a guy who was on my team who I could look to, who other guys could look to, to really help get us emotionally where we needed to be. And that was really huge, because I was the opposite. I was the quiet leader, and Ray was the vocal leader. And it really worked well.