January 13, 2009

Ravens’ ailing Brigance gets game ball

The game ball from the Baltimore Ravens' AFC playoff win over Tennessee last weekend when to its ailing director of player development, players said.

The Ravens' O.J. Brigance, who is wheelchair-bound and stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, was given the game ball by Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed after Baltimore's 13-10 win in the AFC divisional playoff in Nashville, The Sun newspaper in Baltimore reported Tuesday.

Brigance, 39, will be on the field when the Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday for the AFC championship and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line despite experiencing difficulties in recent weeks in speaking clearly and loudly enough for normal conversation.

You can hear a pin drop whenever Brigance speaks, tight end Todd Heap told The Sun. Everybody's talking, then everybody's listening, and all of us take it to heart when he talks.

It's such an honor to be part of what they are, said Brigance, a former player who won a Super Bowl championship as a Raven in 2000. It's very rare for a man to allow another man to impart words to him, to open themselves up to another's life, and it's very impressive to me.