Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2017

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Ex-NFLer Ogden watches from sideline at UNLV-UNR game

Battle Turns Blue

For the fourth straight year, the Battle for Nevada went in the Wolf Pack's favor. UNR keeps the Fremont Cannon a navy blue hue thanks to its 49-27 win over UNLV.

UNR Knocks Off the Rebels

UNLV fans cheer as their team takes the field against UNR at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »

Jonathan Ogden stood out on the Sam Boyd Stadium sideline Saturday night.

At 6-feet-9 and a few Happy Meals less than the 345 pounds he played at for the Baltimore Ravens, Ogden was hard to miss.

He marveled at the sloppy play that unraveled in front of him as UNLV played UNR in their annual Battle for the Fremont Cannon.

“What is that?” Ogden said as the Wolf Pack took a 21-17 advantage in the second quarter. “I don’t know what that is?”

For the first time in 13 years, Ogden, 34, has the weekends off in the fall. So the 10-year Henderson resident battled the traffic like other locals to see one of the biggest Rebels’ games in recent memory.

It was his first one. He bolted at halftime to beat the crowd out of the parking lot.

Before the game, Ogden gathered the UNLV offensive linemen for a pep talk.

“I talked to them about what it takes to make it and be good at the game,” he said. “Words of encouragement, really.”

The surefire Hall of Famer played in 11 Pro Bowls and helped Baltimore win a Super Bowl, 34-7 over the New York Giants, in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 28, 2001.

Last season, when Ogden battled a toe injury, he told the Sun that 2007 likely would be his final season. He retired in June, and he lives in Anthem.

He has a golf cart completely decked out in Ravens purple, logos and all. He has seen UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger at the country club.

“At the driving range,” Ogden said. “He’s got a nice swing.”

He hasn’t attended a Rebels basketball game but hopes to see them soon.

Last fall, Ogden said he might like to help coach the offensive line at a Las Vegas-area high school. There were inquiries, but he chose to do some radio work for Ravens home games.

“It’s not like TV, which is all scripted,” Ogden said. “I’m a little bit of a ham. You can keep it light, which I like. You can shoot from the hip. It also keeps me around the game, but not ‘in’ the game.”

Eventually, he said, he’d like to lend his expertise to a local prep team. He still wakes up sore from a dozen years in the NFL and cringed when asked if he might deal with those aches and pains the rest of his life.

“I hope not,” Ogden said. “You never know. But I’m one of the lucky ones.”

He also cringed when asked about UCLA’s defeat to Fresno State on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

“BYU is the one that really hurt,” he said of the Bruins’ 59-0 loss at BYU. “They don’t have the talent right now, but (coach Rick Neuheisel) has the coaching staff. He’ll get the players. No doubt about it.”

Ogden nearly laughed when a play unfolded in front of him near the 10-yard line. NFL players, he intimated, do not easily topple like dominoes.

Then again, he liked his side of the field.

“I don’t like falling down anymore,” Ogden said.

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