This offseason, Kelechi Osmele was forced to make a tough decision. He had become the top offensive linemen on the market and the Raiders pushed hard for his services along with several other teams. The Ravens were in the mix too, but their offers to keep him weren’t quite in line with his market value.
“I kinda let my agent handle that and he would report back to me what the offer was and what he thought I was worth and the numbers just didn’t come anywhere close,” said Osemele. “It hurts your feelings a little bit because you spent the last four years there, it’s been a lot of ups and downs, winning the Super Bowl there, and to kind of find out that’s probably not where you’re gonna end up can be a little emotional.”
After Osemele signed with the Raiders, you could tell it was a bittersweet moment. He talked about how he signed with the Raiders because they placed a high value on offensive linemen, while insinuating that wasn’t the case in Baltimore.
Then the schedule came out and he found out he would be heading back to Baltimore to face his old teammates in the first month of the season.
“It’s definitely gonna be an emotional day,” said Osemele. “Guys that used to be teammates I’m gonna be competing against for the first time ever. That’s gonna be a different twist. Yeah, it’s definitely gonna be a passionate day for me.”
But while Osemele will be battling his emotions, his former team will have to battle him. As he has proven in his first few games with the Raiders, that is not an enviable task.
“All the other times I’ve been on the field with KO he’s been on our side which was good,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “I just respect him. He’s one of the guys I love the best in the draft the year he came out, really wanted him on our team and [Ravens General Manager] Ozzy [Newsome] liked him too and found a way to make it happen. And he did not disappoint ever, at any point in time in terms of what he contributed to our program. So, a lot of respect for him and we expect him to play really well and we expect him to be a real tough match-up because we understand out good he is.”
The Raiders running backs have enjoyed running behind Osemele at the left guard spot thus far. He has been a major factor in why the Raiders have the second most rushing yards in the league (148.3 ypg) through three games. Something his former teammates are missing right now.
“KO, man, that’s my guy,” said Ravens running back Justin Forsett. “I know a lot of our offensive linemen are close because they spent a lot more time with him than I did, but KO’s a special player. We got some good guys over here that’s filling his role, but KO has always been a special player.”
“He’s just one of those nasty offensive linemen. He goes out, he tries to dominate every play, he’s physical, you’re gonna see guys getting pancaked and he’s standing over them. He’s kinda that mouthpiece out there, that headhunter that you want on that offensive line.”
Last season Osemele was in a Ravens uniform hunting down defenders. This week he will be hunting down defenders wearing a Ravens uniform.