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Oglesby Re-Signs With Ravens
By Mike Duffy
April 16, 2007
Evan Oglesby is one of those players in the NFL that is just thankful for where he is today, even using the word "thankful" over and over to relate his thoughts on re-signing with the Ravens this offseason.
It's not that he's just feeding the cliche answer that so many professional athletes are conditioned to give. It's just how this modest cornerback, who was an exclusive rights free agent, genuinely feels.
"I'm just thankful for having this opportunity," he said during a break between lifting sessions at Ravens headquarters. "I guess my play last year helped them in the decision to bring me back. I'm thankful that I could go out and make plays."
Were it not for his gritty determination and work ethic, however, Oglesby may not have even been in his present situation.
Oglesby's career began as an extra body for the Buffalo Bills, who brought in the rookie free agent out of Division II North Alabama before their 2005 training camp. But his performance in the preseason opened some eyes in western New York, sparking enough interest that he was kept as a member of the Bills' practice squad.
At least for a few tumultuous stints.
Oglesby was signed, and subsequently dropped a week later, from Buffalo's practice team three times during the 2005 campaign before the Ravens added him to their active roster near the end of that year. Such a roller-coaster ride would have wilted anyone's character, but not for this young fighter.
"Those times were tough, but I knew if I kept working hard, something would happen," he said. "I was definitely happy to come down to Baltimore and try to show the coaches that I can contribute on such a great defense."
Oglesby, 25, came into his most-recent season with the expectations of being mainly a special teams performer. He certainly delivered, seeing action in all 17 Ravens games (including the postseason contest against the Indianapolis Colts) and finishing third on the team with a career-high 17 special teams stops (plus one in the playoffs).
The 5-10, 185-pounder wasn't satisfied there, though. Oglesby also saw time from scrimmage in six regular-season matchups as a backup cornerback, posting three tackles twice.
"It shows that the coaches trusted me, and I hope they can continue to mold me into the player they want me to be," Oglesby explained about his extended playing time last year.
That taste of game action has the cornerback working even harder this offseason, as Oglesby is determined to earn more time alongside his secondary mates. Even though the Ravens' offseason conditioning program is purely voluntary, Oglesby has been a fixture at the team facility in Owings Mills, Md.
Winborne played in one game for the Ravens last season.
"I call it ?doing all the extra you can,'" he said. "You have to prepare yourself for more situations like that, where you can get it going on defense. When I do get the chance to play with the defense, I go into it like I'm a starter.
"That's the only way you can think about it."
And with another year to prove himself in Baltimore, Oglesby hopes his line of thinking becomes reality.