After his career hit rock bottom with the Titans, former Ravens tackle Michael Oher is back in the Super Bowl with the Panthers.
Oher was the Ravens’ starting right tackle in Super Bowl XLVII, when they defeated the 49ers in New Orleans. However, Oher never lived up to expectations playing both left and right tackle during his five seasons in Baltimore, after being a first-round pick in 2009 (No. 23). When he hit free agency following the 2013 season, Oher signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Titans, and they soon regretted it. Oher lasted just one season with Tennessee, and he was released last February.
Thinking his career might have ended, Oher got a phone message from Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last offseason, telling Oher that the Panthers needed him.
“I didn’t say 'I want you to be here,’ (but) I need you,” Newton said via the Charlotte Observer. “That’s a difference. Want and need is two big different words. That’s what I used in that text, along with other words. And I think he got the feeling from it.”
Oher signed a two-year $7 million deal with the Panthers in March, started every game at left tackle, and has played the best football of his career blocking for Newton. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman knew there were plenty of skeptics when he signed Oher, but it turned into a fortuitous move.
“I know everybody killed me on that one,” Gettleman told the Observer. “Michael has been a huge boost to us. He’s settled it down.”
Now Oher is giving advice to teammates about what the Super Bowl experience will be like. Oher has been in the spotlight for years, since his life story was portrayed in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side”. The rebirth of his career has been like something from a movie as well, and Oher said he was enjoying the ride.
“I know we’ve still got another game to play, so you can’t get too excited,” Oher said. “We’ve got to finish. We came a long way.”
MORE RAVENS: Mosley's Alabama teammate on Ravens' draft radar