Back in early November, the Ravens' community relations department received an email from a doctor at Johns Hopkins, who at the time was caring for a 16-year-old boy with a rare form of leukemia. His name was Tyler Guzman. Just like every 16-year-old, Tyler was living the typical life of a teenager and had just got his driver's license. But right around that same time, Tyler started his third round of chemotherapy, on top of undergoing two previous bone marrow transplants.
Tyler continued to remain positive and fought to make the best of his situation, but the doctor could see that the increase in treatment was starting to wear on his spirits. During hospital visits, they would talk to Tyler about sports to help keep his mind at ease, and they came to find out that he was a huge Baltimore Ravens fan. It was then, as what Tyler describes, a "fairytale", started.
On November 11, 2012, the Ravens hosted Tyler at the Oakland Raiders game. Safety Ed Reed heard about Tyler's story and invited him back out to the Ravens vs. Steelers game in December. The two were supposed to meet up following the game, however they were unable to and Reed extended the offer for Tyler to later attend practice at the team's training facility.
It was the Friday leading into the Wild Card Playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, and Tyler stopped by to watch practice. At the end of practice, the players greeted Tyler and called for him to join the team in the huddle, and on the count of three, they unanimously yelled, "Ty Strong." Head coach Harbaugh then took Tyler aside and said, "If we win, come back out for practice next Friday." Tyler was in awe and later told his mom that it was the best day of his life.
However, the fairytale didn't stop there. The Ravens went on to beat the Colts, 24-9. Tyler was back at practice that next Friday, and coach Harbaugh had the same message for him: "If we win, I'll see you next week." The Ravens then went to Denver and beat Peyton Manning's Broncos in an unforgettable, historic game, 38-35. Tyler once again was back at practice the following Friday, and next up were the New England Patriots. The Ravens went up against Tom Brady's team and came out victorious, winning 28-13.
Following the game in their respective press conferences, coach Harbaugh and Reed both mentioned Tyler and talked about what he has brought to the team. "Little Tyler who comes to our practices, going through leukemia right now, he's been a strength for us," said Reed. What they didn't know was that Tyler was not feeling well that day and had to watch the game from his hospital bed.
Tyler was released from the hospital a few days later and was able to attend practice on both Thursday and Friday before the team headed to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. Tyler will be cheering on the Ravens as they take on the San Francisco 49'ers, and the team will certainly keep Tyler in mind while they prepare for the game.
Fans will see a number of Raven players adorn a blue bracelet with the words "Ty Strong" and "Third Time's The Charm," referring to the number of times Tyler has battled leukemia. Maybe it is a coincidence that the Ravens were able to finally get a win in what marked their third AFC Championship game since Coach Harbaugh's arrival in 2008. Either way, Tyler and the Ravens believe third time's the charm. TY STRONG