Hello Ravens Nation!
As we begin the 2015 offseason training program, I can't help but think what a privilege it is to be a Raven and to have access to the best organization in the NFL. Although there are many tremendously, talented football players in the nation, not everyone has the internal fortitude and makeup to be a Raven. It goes beyond the 40-yard dash, beyond how physically strong the person is, beyond the outward appearance.
It is the heart of a person that makes them a Raven.
In our weight room, on both sides of the red, piercing Raven eyes, are six words that characterize our style of play. These words are: Attitude, Compete, Physical, Fast, Relentless and Finish. Almost every team in the NFL strives for those attributes, but the condition of the heart is what makes them obtainable week in and week out.
There are four words to describe the heart of every Raven: resilient, integrity, sacrifice and excellence. I have never been around a group of people like the Ravens, who are able to pick themselves up in the face of adversity and continue forward with the end goal in mind. There is no quit in a Ravens heart until everything that can possibly be done, is done. Not only will we not quit, but our integrity will constantly steer our actions towards doing it the right way. I have heard it said that we are never judged on our intentions, but by the end result of our actions. I submit to you that intentions should be weighed before forming opinions and intentions put forth with integrity, most often lead to actions that are righteous in the end.
There is a daily sacrifice that occurs within the Ravens organization. It is a daily submission of self for the betterment of the TEAM. While the concept may be foreign, behind the gates at 1 Winning Drive, the ability of each individual to do their role to the very best of their ability, with the TEAM in mind, has created a culture of success. It is not just about fulfilling your role, but doing your job with a spirit of excellence. Every role isn't visible on Sunday afternoon, but every role seen and unseen contributes to our TEAM success. The spirit of excellence will never allow complacency with the status quo to exist. We are constantly looking for ways to get better.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to mentor and guide our players since 2004. We have had many players make meaningful contributions to this organization and our community for many years. Nothing is ever perfect, but under the guidance of our Director of Player Development Harry Swayne, the standard to become a Raven remains high. Through the team's Rookie Success Program, our men are taught the value of Resilience, Integrity, Sacrifice and Excellence. Life often presents great trials and challenges to us all, but having the heart of a Raven, infused with the attributes above, will allow us to overcome and RISE above any obstacle we encounter.
I am honored to have this opportunity to let each of you know how much the Ravens and I appreciate your unwavering allegiance to our team. On a personal note, Baltimore has embraced me as one of its own since 1994 when the Baltimore Stallions of the CFL came to town. Your support has never waned over the years. Even as I face my fiercest opponent yet in my battle against ALS, Baltimore continues to strengthen me with its resilient spirit. This Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 9 a.m. in Canton, we will be having our Brigance Brigade Foundation's 5.7K Championship Run. I would be honored if Ravens Nation would come out to support our mission to equip, empower and encourage those living with ALS. Please go to brigancebrigade.org for more information.
It is an honor and privilege to represent Baltimore and Ravens Nation. I thank you and look forward to seeing you at M&T Bank Stadium this fall for another great season!