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O.J. Brigance - Linebacker - 1994-95 - Rice University

Brigance, 6 feet and 236 pounds, graduated from Rice and began his CFL career in 1991 with British Columbia. He spent 3 seasons with the Lions (1991-93) and was named an All-Conference LB. Brigance then joined the CFL's Baltimore Stallions from 1994-95, helping the team earn a Grey Cup Championship in 1995.

O.J. Brigance said a better script could not have been written for the 1995 Grey Cup. The only Canadian Football League team Baltimore had failed to beat during its two-year history was the Calgary Stampeders prior to the victory, the last for Baltimore in the Canadian football League.  What better way to break that string than to knock off Calgary in Sunday's Grey Cup game? The Stallions will get the chance they have waited for since Aug. 6, when they dropped a 29-15 decision at McMahon Stadium. That day, Calgary quarterback Doug Flutie threw for 405 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore's offense was going into a slump it wouldn’t shake for three more weeks. And the opponents did not exactly face each other on equal terms. 

 

Calgary came into the contest on nine days of rest. The Stallions were playing their third and final game of a nine-day road trip. They were four days removed from a 19-12 victory at Edmonton, during which they lost free safety Lester Smith to a broken foot for the season, and nearly lost quarterback Tracy Ham to a sprained ankle. The Stallions turned to backup Shawn Jones, but called on Ham in the first half, after Jones failed to move the offense consistently. Ham gave the Stallions a spark, but they tired in the second half, when their defense spent most of the time on the field, and Baltimore managed only two points. The slate has been wiped clean. The Grey Cup crown will be decided between the two teams with the best records in the CFL, and each team has seven days to prepare.  

"It's a bit more of an even playing field, and that's all you ever want as a player," said Brigance, Baltimore's middle linebacker. "If we wrote the script, we couldn't have come up with anything better. We'll have a full week of rest this time around. I'm really looking forward to the two best teams coming in with the same amount of rest. And in a way, I'm kind of happy that Flutie is playing."

Baltimore became the first and only American based team to capture the championship for Canadian football supremacy defeating Calgary 37-20. Following the season all of the American franchises folded, Baltimore was the only organization that survived moving to Montreal as the re-born Montreal Alouettes. Brigance moved on to fulfill his football dreams in the NFL.

He entered the NFL in 1996 with the Miami Dolphins and was voted as a team captain twice in 4 seasons. His Dolphins teammates also selected him as the Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 1999. Throughout his 7-year NFL career, Brigance was involved with the community and has remained involved since his retirement. In Miami, Brigance was involved in a number of different community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Daily Food Bank. Brigance was honored with the NFLPA's Unsung Hero award in 1999.

There are Ravens who played for a football team in Cleveland that moved, but there is just one who played for a team in Baltimore only to see it move.

No, not the Colts, but the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League.

That man is O.J. Brigance, a special-teams player and backup linebacker who needed five years after graduation from Rice to get into the NFL.

But look at him now. Though Brigance has taken the long road, he has reached the pinnacle of a journey-filled career even if he awaits his first start in 70 games.

Former Ravens and Baltimore Stallions (CFL) LB O.J. Brigance is in his 2nd year as the Ravens' director of player development. Brigance, who earned a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2000, oversees all Ravens player development programs and works closely with Ravens players, assisting with each phase of their careers.