Jameel McClain

Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain is active in the community, here talking to students at Spring Garden Elementary School about how they should spend less time playing video games and more time being active. (Jon Sham, Baltimore Sun Media Group / October 8, 2013)

Jameel McClain has been named the Ed Block Courage Award winner for the Ravens, an unsurprising choice considering the way the veteran linebacker overcame a serious injury.

McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion a year ago against the Washington Redskins but returned this season to regain his starting job.

He began the season on the physically unable to perform list and beat the odds after being told by at least one doctor that he would never play football again.

“People counted me out,” McClain said in a statement. “I was told I’d never play again and that I should focus on life after football. But I wasn’t going to succumb. All I could do was believe in myself, which I’ve always done. I fought the odds before, and I’ll fight the odds again. I’ve always believed in myself and tuned out the negativity. If you look now, I’m still here – still doing what I love and fighting for my team.”

McClain and his family were homeless for a stretch, growing up in Philadelphia.

Now, McClain is an active contributor to the Baltimore community. He holds an annual Thanksgiving food drive called 53 Families, and he is the spokesman for an annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The award is named after Ed Block, the longtime head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts.

awilson@baltsun.com
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