The 2012 Baltimore Ravens are not short on inspiration.
In fact, this team hasn't been dipping into inspiration reserves since ... right about the time before linebacker Ray Lewis joined the team over a decade ago. They head into Super Bowl XLVII buoyed by Lewis and the opportunity to win the legendary All-Pro another ring before he hangs up the cleats for good and calls it a career.
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But there's more inspiration to be had, and they're using every bit they can. As noted by The Associated Press, the Ravens are drawing plenty of inspiration from O.J. Brigance, former special teams player and current director of player development.
Brigance is confined to a wheelchair, and is battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It's a disease that is eventually fatal, and Brigance communicates through a device that translates his thoughts.
With the Ravens, he does all he can to help the players on the team with whatever they need. He was the one to present the Lamar Hunt trophy to the Ravens on Sunday, after they beat the New England Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl. He also made this statement:
"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."
Lewis calls Brigance his "greatest motivation," which says a lot given who it is coming from. Baltimore Beatdown, SB Nation's blog for the Ravens, counts Lewis as their champion. If he draws his inspiration from Brigance, then the Ravens certainly have their hearts in the right place.
Brigance played on the Ravens' Super Bowl team in 2000. He was a big special teams contributor, making 25 tackles, good for second on the team, in the regular season. On top of that, he had 10 special teams tackles in the playoffs, including the first tackle of the game in the Super Bowl.
With no shortage of inspiration, the Ravens will try and bring Lewis another Super Bowl ring on Feb. 3, and Brigance will be right there in the celebration if they manage it.