OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- During his pre-draft visit to Baltimore, Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. handed general manager Ozzie Newsome a note that included a message about how special it would be if he were to play for the Ravens.
Brown's father, who was nicknamed "Zeus," played six seasons for the Ravens and started for them 13 years ago.
On Friday night, Newsome called Orlando Brown Jr. to inform him that he was selected by Baltimore in the third round. It was a heartfelt homecoming.
"You're not kidding me, are you?" Brown told Newsome. "Is this for real?"
Brown not only will have a chance to play for the same team as his father, he will compete with James Hurst to start at the same right tackle position.
Born in the same year (1996) as the franchise began, Brown recounted his memories of watching Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Jamal Lewis practice. He also remembers the times his father got into fights during practice.
"I'm all over the place," Brown said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "I'm so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity, specifically the organization I grew up loving."
Orlando Brown was 40 when he died in 2011.
Orlando Jr. was considered a first-round prospect until his disastrous combine in February. The numbers that drew the most scrutiny were his 14 repetitions at 225 pounds on the bench press and his 5.85-second 40-yard dash, which was the third slowest since 2006.
"I think the tape is what we always go back to, especially with offensive linemen," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "The other thing, offensive linemen don't have to run 40 yards very often."
On tape, the Ravens saw Brown consistently control defensive linemen, knock them down and play to the whistle.
"I can't speak for what happened at the combine," Brown said. "But whatever happened, happened. None of that means anything now. I'm a hard worker and I believe in myself."
Newsome remembers when Brown was around the team as a 10-year-old. He said Brown "brought a light" to the Ravens facility during his visit.
"He's going to give us everything he has," DeCosta said. "We want players who are invested in our program. There is not going to be any player we draft this year who is going to be more invested in the Ravens than Orlando."