--- Peter Schrager of FOX Sports writes that O.J. Brigance's brave battle continues to inspire the Ravens.
“Known around the Ravens locker room and team’s facility as ‘Juice,’ Brigance knows a thing or two about having faith in a vision. In 2007, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. First he lost the use of his arms. Then he lost his ability to walk. Then, his ability to talk. Through it all, though, he’s never lost the ability to inspire and lead,” Schrager wrote. “Bound to a wheelchair and unable to use his voice, he reports to work every day with an upbeat demeanor and the unbreakable confidence in a personal goal. ‘I believe, despite my diagnosis, that I will walk again,’ he tells me.”
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“The Baltimore Ravens hope the lessons they learned from facing Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins last month will help them in the Super Bowl against another dynamic quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, playing in another option-style offense, that of the San Francisco 49ers,” Maske wrote. “Dealing with Kaepernick will be the main concern for the Baltimore defense. The second-year pro started San Francisco’s final seven games of the regular season, and his star has been on the rise during a dazzling postseason in which he had a 181-yard rushing performance against the Green Bay Packers in an NFC semifinal. The 49ers have done for Kaepernick what Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan did for Griffin: incorporating option running plays and other elements borrowed from the college game into the offense to take advantage of a young quarterback’s varied talents.”
--- Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News writes that Kaepernick is focused on creating more 49ers Lombardi lore.
“Colin Kaepernick sounded as calm and confident as ever Thursday, a mere 10 days from appearing in Super Bowl XLVII,” Inman wrote. “He's seen the five Lombardi Trophies that are displayed in the lobby of the 49ers' facility, and he's well aware of the Super Bowl-winning standard set by Joe Montana and Steve Young. ‘I've met both of them, talked with both of them briefly,’ Kaepernick said. ‘I mean, they did great things here.’”
“No street is named after Ray Lewis in his hometown. City fathers have yet to erect a statue or post a plaque bearing the name of their local football hero, one of the NFL's most popular and decorated players. No ‘Welcome to the home of Ray Lewis’ sign can be found in a region dominated by citrus groves, cattle farming and phosphate mining,” Saraceno wrote. “Back home in central Florida, and nationally, the view is more polarized. Perceived past slights, questions about Lewis' involvement in a double-homicide 13 years ago in Atlanta, and his fathering six children with four women, none of whom he married, seem to haunt Lewis.”
--- Yahoo’s Michael Silver says the mature outlook of former Terps tight end Vernon Davis has fueled the 49ers' success.
“When Colin Kaepernick made his stunning debut as an NFL starting quarterback last November, performing so prolifically that he would supplant Alex Smith atop the San Francisco 49ers'depth chart and spark a Super Bowl run, Vernon Davis played a pivotal role, catching six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown,” he wrote. “Three days after that productive Monday Night Football performance in a win over the Chicago Bears, the Niners' talented tight end enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast. Then famine set in: Over the final six games of the regular season, Davis caught a grand total of six passes for 61 yards without reaching the end zone. During that perplexing stretch, Lennay Kekua was less invisible than the former Pro Bowler. Yet Davis never turned negative, displaying the maturity and perspective the sixth overall pick of the 2006 draft lacked early in his career.”