Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Stricken Brigance inspires Ravens

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — O.J. Brigance is going back to the Super Bowl with the Ravens, a model of toughness and perseverance.

On Sunday, confined to a wheelchair as he battles Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the former Baltimore linebacker presented the Lamar Hunt trophy to the team after it beat New England 28-13 for the AFC championship on Sunday.

Using a communication device that translates his thoughts, Brigance, now a senior adviser to player development for the Ravens, said:

"Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens. Your resiliency has outlasted your adversity. You are the AFC Champions. You are my mighty men. With God, all things are possible."

In 2007, Brigance was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. In his current position, he helps the athletes in all phases of their careers.

He was part of the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl in the 2000 season, starring on special teams.

Now he inspires them.

"Every day I came out and told O.J. that you're my greatest motivation," said LB Ray Lewis, the only active Raven who played on that championship team, which won Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

SLIDE ISSUE: Tom Brady's foot-up slide Sunday did not sit well with Ravens S Bernard Pollard. In the final minute of the first half, Brady slid to end an impromptu run. The quarterback's upraised leg hit onrushing Ravens S Ed Reed, who was not injured. Pollard said Brady should be disciplined by the league, which levies fines on defensive players for helmet-to-helmet hits.

CALDWELL STAYS PUT: Jim Caldwell will remain the Ravens' offensive coordinator next season. Caldwell moved from quarterbacks coach Dec. 9 after coach John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron, and a sluggish offense improved.

RATINGS DIP: TV viewership for the conference title games was down from last season. The 2012 AFC title game on CBS in the early slot drew 48.7 million viewers; Sunday's game had 47.7 million viewers in the late slot. Last year's Giants-49ers NFC title game on Fox was watched by 57.6 million people in the late slot; Sunday's 49ers-Falcons game was seen by 42 million in the early slot.

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