As the Baltimore Ravens made their improbable march to victory in Super Bowl XLVII, they turned to their senior advisor of player development, O.J. Brigance, for inspiration each and every Sunday.
Following a stellar twelve-year career as a linebacker, including a Super Bowl win with Baltimore in 2000, O.J.Juice Brigance joined the Ravens front office. But in 2007, O.J. was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and told he had only three to five years to live. As a player, he'd battled hundreds of injuries and setbacks. None of them prepared him to face ALS.
With faith and determination in his heart and his wife, Chanda, praying by his side, O.J. fought back against the debilitating disease, even as ALS robbed him of the ability to walk and speak. He kept working, smiling, and touching his players lives all the way through their remarkable Super Bowl run more than five years after his diagnosis.
Now, O.J. shares his incredible story, offering lessons in resilience and reflecting on the championship team that inspired him in turn. Along with his own journey, O.J. recounts the struggles and successes of Ravens players, including Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, and Torrey Smith, as well as the strength of head coach John Harbaugh. Having watched their season from the best seat in the house, O.J. highlights their perseverance, confidence, and leadership, and the best that sports can bring out in people.
Full of profound revelations and never-before-told anecdotes, Strength of a Champion is a celebration of the human spirit from a man who left everything on the field. O.J. Brigance never asked to be a hero. That's what makes his story so courageous.
O. J. Brigance is currently the senior adviser of player development for the Baltimore Ravens. He created the Brigance Brigade Foundation to raise awareness and funding for ALS research and patient services.
Peter Schrager is the senior national writer for FOXSports.com and the sports correspondent for FOX News Channel’s FOX Report Weekend. He’s the coauthor of Victor Cruz’s New York Times bestselling memoir, Out of the Blue.
“[O. J. Brigance’s] courageous fight against ALS is an inspiration to Americans.”—President Barack Obama at a White House Reception for the Baltimore Ravens
“O.J. is our greatest motivation and our greatest inspiration, and we are all blessed to be able to share in his light.”—Coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
“[O.J.’s] strength, his outlook, and his remarkable faith serve as examples of everything we should strive for in our own lives.”—Ray Lewis, from the Foreword