How Simeon Rice saved the Ravens from Lawrence Phillips

AP

Simeon Rice thinks he deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Ravens would probably support that bid, if only for what Rice saved them from.

When the Illinois defensive end made a late climb up draft boards and was chosen third overall by the Cardinals in the 1996 NFL Draft, it cleared the way for the Ravens to take UCLA tackle Jonathan Ogden instead of Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips.

That obviously worked out pretty well for them, since Ogden is already enshrined in Canton himself, while Phillips is facing murder charges involving the death of his cellmate in a California prison.

But looking back at that decision shows how close the Ravens were to making a terrible mistake.

They figured Southern Cal wideout Keyshawn Johnson and Illinois linebacker Kevin Hardy would be gone, leaving Ogden and Phillips in the next two spots. They seemed comfortable enough with Phillips to take him if it fell that way, despite his track record at Nebraska of domestic assault.

“I had no qualms about taking him, because I felt, based on our investigation, that he was subject to quick and complete rehabilitation and that he would have been a class-A citizen and a man the city of Baltimore would have been proud of,” the late owner Art Modell said of Phillips, via Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun. “There was no doubt that we were going to take Ogden if he was there, but we didn’t think he would be in the fourth slot. The thing that threw everything out of kilter was Rice going early.”

As the Ravens prepared for that draft, the possibility of an Ogden-Phillips choice was one they worked through and discussed. According to the report, Modell wanted Phillips, while personnel wizard Ozzie Newsome preferred Ogden.

“He was the cleanest of all the guys on the board,” Newsome said of Ogden. (The Ravens would go onto draft Miami linebacker Ray Lewis later in the first round.)

Phillips eventually went sixth overall to the Rams, and the Ravens avoided a running back who would go on to embarrass a franchise and become a symbol of a greater problem in society.

At least for a few decades.

43 responses to “How Simeon Rice saved the Ravens from Lawrence Phillips

  1. “I had no qualms about taking him, because I felt, based on our investigation, that he was subject to quick and complete rehabilitation and that he would have been a class-A citizen and a man the city of Baltimore would have been proud of,” the late owner Art Modell said of Phillips
    _________________________________
    The late and anything but great, Art Modell.

  2. “I had no qualms about taking him, because I felt, based on our investigation, that he was subject to quick and complete rehabilitation and that he would have been a class-A citizen and a man the city of Baltimore would have been proud of,” the late owner Art Modell said

    Wow. Thats the owner that thinks that way.

  3. Wow, they almost ended up with a criminal quadfecta. 2 alleged murderers (Ray Lewis, Lawrence Phillips), 1 coke dealer (Jamal Lewis) and a guy who drags the mother of his children down the road with his car (Terrell Suggs).

  4. Simeon Rice was quoted as saying he is friends with scumbags a few years back when venting about former coach Jon Gruden. Maybe he informed ‘inside’ people about a more specific, similar statement much earlier..

  5. The greatest single draft in all of NFL history by Ozzie.

    Few GMs are good enbough to draft 2 HOF players their entire career.

    Ozzie drafted 2 HOF players in the same year, in the SAME ROUND!

    #hatersjustbejealous
    #inOZwetrust

  6. …and that he would have been a class-A citizen and a man the city of Baltimore would have been proud of,” the late owner Art Modell said of Phillips, via Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun.

    LOL.

    I’m surprised they don’t have a special ceremony before one of their games and a standing ovation.

    Or is that just for women beaters?

  7. Instead, the Ravens waited and got another convict 4 years later when they picked Jamal Lewis.

    A couple months after the Rams had won the Super Bowl.

  8. Simeon Rice should be in the Hall. He had 122 sacks (17th all-time) that mostly came over a span of nine years.

  9. Every team has blood on their hands. You are truly naive if you don’t believe this to he true of the team you root for. That is all.

  10. The late 90s early 2000s were the best LT years…. Ogden Walt jones and Orlando pace were on another level of elite consistency

  11. I just remember Giants were picking after Ravens and desperately wanted Ogden. Ravens took him so Giants took Cedric Jones, a DE blind in one eye. All time BUST!

  12. and that’s why you let personnel men make the pick instead of the owner. If modell took Phillips, we picking after them would have had Ogden (blocking for barber for 10 years) instead of taking the worst pick we ever made that high… Cedric jones

  13. sbchampsagain says:
    Apr 14, 2015 9:08 AM
    The greatest single draft in all of NFL history by Ozzie.

    Few GMs are good enbough to draft 2 HOF players their entire career.

    Ozzie drafted 2 HOF players in the same year, in the SAME ROUND!
    ————–

    The Steelers drafted 4 HOF players in the 1974 draft whom each won FOUR Super Bowls.

    THAT is the “greatest single draft in all of NFL history”

  14. When you Ravens fans say, “in oz we trust”… Are you referring to the GM or the prison?

  15. The Steelers drafted 4 HOF players in the 1974 draft whom each won FOUR Super Bowls.

    THAT is the “greatest single draft in all of NFL history”*

    ___________________

    Great draft indeed.

    But Ozzie’s feat is undoubtedly the greatest in MODERN (salary cap) football.

    Back in the 70’s fewer colleges played football, and there were 17 rounds of the draft.

    Close to 450 kids were drafted in the 70s, split between just 26 teams.

    Like shooting fish in a barrel if the class coming out is talented.

    Ozzie knows how to pick em.

  16. Blah Blah blah. Everyone is ragging on the Ravens for drafting Ray Lewis, but there’s no comments about the Rams drafting Lawrence Phillips.
    And no comments about the 49ers after they picked him back up after a year out of the league (Leading to the end of Steve Young’s career after Phillips missed block during a game).
    Oh well. People have selective memories and self righteous critiques. Shrug.

  17. The Steelers drafted 4 HOF players in the 1974 draft whom each won FOUR Super Bowls.

    THAT is the “greatest single draft in all of NFL history”
    _______________

    A decent draft, but not once you consider the circumstances:

    Just 26 teams, and the Steelers had 17 rounds of the draft to get it right.

    Pretty much like shooting fish in a barrell if you have a talented class coming out.

    And then you have to ask, were those players so great or was it the juice?

  18. chrisk61 says:
    Apr 14, 2015 9:37 AM
    didn’t nebraska also sign the infamous mike rozier from camden nj ?
    ———

    Why does Camden matter? Another online coward making stereotypical connections. Much of my family is from there and defies the stereotype of Camden.

  19. Buddy of mine from college, who grew up in St. Louis, told me Phillips used to cut through peoples yards in his Hummer and was a general terror to the high end neighborhood he lived in while playing for the Rams.

    What total turd, through and through.

  20. Lawrence Phillips with the Ravens wouldn’t have affected anything. Another murdering wife beater would’ve been white noise for the Ravens franchise …

  21. Stiller43, bradyisyourdaddy, cguy7, Scoops1, joetoronto, dontlikecravens, justintuckrule, and all of the rest of the Raven haters –

    Does my heart good to see you all consumed by the BALTIMORE RAVENS!

    The best move Modell made was moving from Cleveland.

    I have to be nice because PFT keeos deleting my posts.

  22. I brag on the Bucs drafting Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in the same first round in 1995, But Ogden and Lewis is pretty damn impressive.

  23. Just to think Lawrence Phillips and Ray Lewis could of been teammates and cellmates. That would of been tough cell block to beat in the prison yard leagues.

  24. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Apr 14, 2015 11:52 AM
    chrisk61 says:
    Apr 14, 2015 9:37 AM
    didn’t nebraska also sign the infamous mike rozier from camden nj ?
    ———

    Why does Camden matter? Another online coward making stereotypical connections. Much of my family is from there and defies the stereotype of Camden.

    ——
    I guess i understand defending a place where you go or are from, but really ?? Camden ?? It’s a hole bro. A terrible place run by a corrupt local gov. and high levels of drug trade.. Take away the waterfront (which is like 3 blocks) and not one person goes into that city on purpose.

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