Ravens throw surprise birthday party for O.J. Brigance

Ravens senior advisor of player development turns 45 on Monday

September 26, 2014|By Aaron Wilson | The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens threw a surprise birthday party for Ravens senior advisor of player development O.J. Brigance on Friday with coach John Harbaugh and the entire team crowding into the cafeteria to sing "Happy Birthday" and present Brigance with a cake.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil delivered a short message to Brigance, who thanked the team, about how he's inspired by his example. Brigance turns 45 on Monday.

A retired former Ravens linebacker, Brigance was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2007. ALS is a degenerative motor neuron disease also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. There is no known cure.

Although Brigance is in a wheelchair, he comes to work every day and counsels players. He spends a lot of time preparing emails to send to players and coaches and other members of the organization, providing inspirational messages and advice.

"Special day as we celebrated O.J. Brigance's birthday, and that's a very emotional thing," Harbaugh said. "It's a very amazing thing. O.J. Brigance, even though he doesn't stand on his two legs, he stands above all of us really in this building.

"He's a great leader, and we look to him every day for strength and encouragement. I've said many times he's the strongest man in the building, and I think he's the heart and soul of what we're all about as the Ravens."

Meanwhile, Harbaugh offered his support to Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still's 4-year-old daughter, Leah. She had a cancerous tumor removed Thursday.

"We wanted to wish her all of our prayers and all of our thoughts as we pray for healing from this disease," Harbaugh said. "And she's going to make it. It's in God's hands, God willing, God's will be done and we pray for that."



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