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Felix Overcomes Stroke to Ravens


Even though new Ravens offensive lineman **Robby Felix** had started 46 straight games throughout his four-year tenure at UTEP, the promising college prospect was frighteningly close to ending his career not too long ago.

And that is not simply because he was getting ready to drive to California this weekend to begin working in the "real world" for his aunt and uncle.

Hours after Felix played in his final home contest at UTEP, he suffered a stroke that incapacitated the entire right side of his body.

He couldn't speak. He had to catch himself with his left hand as he fell.

Felix's wife, Kelly, called 911 to rush the 6-foot 3, 300-pound center to the emergency room.

In a moment, Felix went from what he said some considered as high as a third-round draft pick to someone that would be lucky to get a tryout.

"At that point, I didn't even know if I would play again," Felix said after Wednesday's Organized Team Activity (OTA). "They told me it was a stroke, but I didn't really know what that was.

"They had no idea what caused it."

Felix attributes his youth and athletic background for being able to recover from such dire circumstances.

He should also give credit to his resolute spirit.

Felix said it took him a month to re-learn how to talk. Physical therapy sessions helped him regain simple motor skills like eating and writing.

Even then, he had a long way to go before he could even think about returning to the football field.

But Felix set out to do just that, rehabbing at the TEST Sports Club in New Jersey to train for the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.

Then, only three months after the stroke, Felix turned in an admirable performance at the Combine. He bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times and ran the 40-yard dash in an unofficial 5.19 seconds.

When draft weekend came, however, Felix sat on his couch and watched all seven rounds pass without hearing his name called.

"I sat around for three and a half weeks waiting, and I was getting ready to start my life, but then the Ravens called and gave me an opportunity," explained Felix, who only takes one Aspirin each morning to guard against any further complications.

One of the big reasons he held on for so long was a conversation with New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who also suffered a stroke but returned to the game after eight months.

"He was encouraging, to say the least," stated Felix. "He just told me to keep fighting, and good things would happen."

That was when the Ravens contacted him. Felix was fully packed for his move from his El Paso home to the West Coast, joining his family's construction company.

Instead, he donned a purple No. 69 practice jersey and took his spot with the rest of Baltimore's offensive linemen on Wednesday.

Felix would probably be the first to admit that he looked fairly lost in his first few professional drills, but the challenge of learning **Cam Cameron’s** offensive playbook pales in comparison to what Felix has already overcome.  

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