Every room in the Taneytown home that he shared with his wife, Toni, was filled with Ravens memorabilia. He was the kind of fan who wore his purple Ravens cap no matter the season. He donned the "lucky cap" Dec. 28 to spur the Ravens to a needed victory over the Cleveland Browns, according to Mark Stapleton, his nephew and friend.
Akers, who was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, began going rapidly downhill and had been in hospice since a day or two after Christmas, Ramirez says. His wife and Stapleton told him that it was OK to let go.
Stapleton said that, though Akers had stopped eating, drinking and talking and though he no longer could see, he continued to cling to life day after day.
"We couldn't figure out what he was holding on for," Ramirez says. "Then, someone joked that maybe he was waiting on that last Ravens-Steelers game."
Just before the kickoff Saturday, Ramirez covered Akers with his Ravens hoodie and placed his cap next to his pillow. Though the ailing man couldn't see the game, he could hear it -- and his wife and nephew were in the room with him describing the action.