The Baltimore Warhawks, a semipro football team of police officers and firefighters, honored Ravens senior advisor of player development O.J. Brigance on Saturday.
A former Ravens linebacker who won a Super Bowl with the team during the 2000 NFL season, Brigance was diagnosed in 2007 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS is a progressive motor neuron disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Brigance's No. 57 jersey was retired in honor of the Warhawks' partnership with his charitable foundation, the Brigance Brigade foundation. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Brigance's foundation. The Warhawks play in the National Public Safety League and opened their season Saturday against the Philadelphia Blue Flame.
"I am very excited about the partnership between the Brigance Brigade Foundation and the Baltimore Warhawks," Brigance told The Baltimore Sun. "These are Baltimore's finest first responders, and to have my number retired by the team is a great honor for me and the foundation. The team gives so much off the field to our community, and I thank them for their sacrifice for others."
The Ravens have lost several key free agents this offseason, including wide receiver Torrey Smith and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. They traded five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Detroit Lions after a contract dispute.
"We have lost a few guys that have been instrumental to our success," Brigance said. "They are quality people who we will miss. However, I have learned over the years that the Ravens process works. The scouting department and coaches will find the right players to make the team successful this season and for seasons to come. We will be all right."
Brigance and his foundation are holding their second annual run in Canton on April 25.
Registration for the Brigance Brigade Foundation 5.7-kilometer championship run and one-mile family run-walk is now open at brigancebrigade.org. The run benefits research for and support of families dealing with ALS.