BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He’s the man the Ravens draw their inspiration from, a portrait of courage and determination. OJ Brigance was part of the Ravens’ Super Bowl team in 2001. Ron Matz reports on OJ’s long journey since then in his fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

oj-briganceOJ Brigance was in the locker room as the Ravens celebrated the AFC Championship. He was a champion with the Baltimore Stallions and then part of the Ravens’ 2001 Super Bowl team. But six years ago, when he was 37, OJ was diagnosed with ALS—an incurable disease.

His wife Chanda, is his rock.

“The Brigance Brigade raises money for patient services. When we were first diagnosed, we learned that just your day to day routine is interrupted. People with ALS need help. They can’t afford equipment and supplies,” Chanda Brigance said.

A computer screen is mounted on his wheelchair. His eyes choose the keys. The dynavox enables OJ to communicate.

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Double amputee and Marine veteran Josh Wege dives after Newman defensive back Gilly Andry (6) after an interception during the charity flag football game between Team Gleason, made up of former NFL players, and the Wounded Warrior Amputees on the football field at Isidore Newman School on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Double amputee and Marine veteran Josh Wege dives after Newman defensive back Gilly Andry (6) after an interception during the charity flag football game between Team Gleason, made up of former NFL players, and the Wounded Warrior Amputees on the football field at Isidore Newman School on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Steve Gleason’s slogan for ALS awareness is “No White Flags.” That was apparent on Wednesday night when it seemed like every color of human being under the rainbow gathered at Newman School’s football field to watch a charity flag football game in support of ALS awareness.

There were a host of largely immobilized ALS-afflicted folks on the field’s sideline in wheelchairs. “Kick ALS” was a sticker on one chair — “ALS sucks!” buttons on another– words that needed no physical voice.

New Orleans Saints football players towered over the ecelectic sideline crowd – guys like Zach Strief and Lance Moore.

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