Notebook: Ogden to ponder retirement

OWINGS MILLS -- After trudging into the locker room Sunday on his sore left big toe, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden declared that he will consider the possibility of retirement.

Although it doesn't appear that Ogden is leaning toward ending his career after 11 seasons, the 10-time Pro Bowl selection said he's going to take some time to think it over. One day after the Ravens' 15-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium, players packed up their belongings for the offseason.

"I'll take a week to try to get my toe better and I'll see from there," Ogden said. "I'll take some time away and re-evaluate some things. That's how it's going to be. I'll see what I want to do next year a little later on."

If this was Ogden's final game, then he played extremely well. After hyperextending his left big toe Dec. 17 against the Cleveland Browns and missing the final two games of the regular season, Ogden returned against the Colts and shut down speedy defensive end Dwight Freeney for no tackles and one quarterback hit.

Ogden said he will weigh multiple issues, including who will be on the roster next year, how his body feels and the manner in which the season ended, before making his decision.

"A lot of things need to be looked at and thought about, but not right now though," said Ogden, who's scheduled to play in the Pro Bowl next month. "It's way too early. The season just ended. I'm still thinking about trying to get my toe better."

Getting better won't entail undergoing toe surgery, though.

"It should heal on its own," said Ogden, the first draft pick in franchise history as the fourth overall selection of the 1996 NFL draft. "It's just going to take some time."

J. LEWIS' FUTURE: Whether to retain Pro Bowl outside linebacker Adalius Thomas isn't the Ravens' only difficult pending decision. Running back Jamal Lewis is due a $5 million option bonus before free agency begins in March along with a $5 million base salary next season. The large dollar figures were inserted in his contract by general manager Ozzie Newsome to prompt either a restructured deal or a potential end to Lewis' tenure in Baltimore.

Although Lewis' relationship with the team improved markedly as he no longer complained about his workload like last season, he rushed for only 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns. He had just two 100-yard games and no longer displays breakaway speed.

If it's up to Lewis, he would like to return.

"I love the Ravens, I've been here from the start, don't know anything else," said Lewis, the 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. "It's just a great team. Whether I'm here or not, I think the Ravens will be all right. But I love this team and wouldn't mind being back here."

Lewis received an endorsement from tight end Daniel Wilcox, a fellow Atlanta resident whose locker stall is next to the former Pro Bowl runner.

"Jamal is a good friend of mine, and we'll probably spend a lot of time together in the offseason working out," Wilcox said. "For him to leave, that would be a huge disappointment for me. I'm praying we can get as many people back as possible."

FREE AGENTS: Besides Lewis and Thomas, the other starters scheduled to become unrestricted free agents are fullback Ovie Mughelli and offensive tackle Tony Pashos.

"Hopefully, I'll be a part of the team next season because I think we have a great chance to make another run at the Super Bowl next year," said Mughelli, who emerged as a vital blocking force and impressed as a spot runner and pass-catcher. "There aren't really any hints on what's going to happen and I'll just let my agent handle that, but I would definitely like to be back."

Oft-injured reserve running back Musa Smith is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent along with backup linebacker Jarret Johnson, defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin and safety Gerome Sapp. Restricted free agents include wide receivers Devard Darling and Clarence Moore, offensive guard Brian Rimpf and return specialist B.J. Sams.

TRAINING ROOM: Offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo's torn triceps tendon is nearly fully healed, and he said he's on track to participate in minicamps this spring.

"I'm going to work my butt off so I can try to contribute more than four games next year," Mulitalo said.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Dan Cody, a second-round draft pick who has had both of his two NFL seasons ended by knee injuries, is forecasting a return by minicamp after recovering from a partial tear of his medial collateral ligament.

"It's getting kind of frustrating to be hurt for two years, but I'm just going to keep working hard," Cody said. "I should be full-go by minicamp. I'm rehabbed up, and I'm just waiting for it to heal up a little bit more."

PRAISED: Veteran kicker Matt Stover made a special point of complimenting rookie return specialist Cory Ross for his breakthrough performance Saturday. Ross had struggled since replacing Sams after he broke his ankle.

Ross returned two punts for 30 yards, including an 18-yard return, and averaged 20.7 yards on six kickoffs.

"Really nice job, Cory," Stover said. "You came through for us."

SHOCKED: Wilcox hadn't mapped out Super Bowl plans just yet, but was leaning toward doing so until the Colts upset the Ravens.

"It's still unbelievable that we're leaving right now to pack up all our things and head home," he said. "It's very stunning. I was thinking we were definitely going to be in the Super Bowl. It's very disappointing."

PRESS BOX BEHAVIOR: Colts president Bill Polian and his son, Chris Polian, the team's vice president of football operations, regularly cursed officials' calls and pounded the table in anger. And they openly celebrated successful plays in a breach of press box guidelines.

Cheering in the press box isn't allowed in the NFL, but it goes on.

At one point, Ravens team spokesman Kevin Byrne made an announcement referencing complaints about the lack of decorum without naming names.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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