OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The entire Baltimore Ravens organization celebrated O.J. Brigance's 45th birthday after Friday's practice.
Brigance, the Ravens' senior adviser to player development, was told he had five years to live when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That was seven years ago.
Each passing birthday for Brigance has been more than celebrating a day. It's celebrating his fight against the debilitating disease.
Before bringing Brigance into the cafeteria, coach John Harbaugh told the players about how Brigance kicked his team's butt on special teams and called him "the strongest man in the building."
The players and coaches gave Brigance a standing ovation when he arrived in a wheelchair and sang "Happy Birthday" to him.
"Even though he doesn't stand on his two legs, he stands above all of us," Harbaugh told reporters. "We think he's a great leader and we look to him everyday for strength and encouragement. I think he's the heart and soul of what we're about with the Ravens."
Brigance has become an ambassador for the battle against ALS, a progressive and fatal disease that shuts down nerve cells responsible for movement but doesn't impair the brain or any of the senses.
No long-term prognosis on Pitta: Harbaugh was told that tight end Dennis Pitta 's hip surgery was successful but he didn't have many details. When asked about Pitta's long-term future, Harbaugh said. "I have no information on that." Pitta was placed on injured reserve this week after injuring his hip Sunday in Cleveland. It's the same right hip he had surgery on last year.
Guy fits Ravens defense: The Ravens believed defensive end Lawrence Guy would work well in their defense after seeing the physicality he played for the San Diego Chargers on tape. "We got final confirmation from Double J [former linebacker Jarret Johnson, who now plays for the Chargers]," Harbaugh said. "We texted him and he gave us his stamp of approval. He said, 'He's got Ravens-like qualities.' So, that was all we needed to hear at the end." Guy was signed by the Ravens to provide depth at defensive end because Chris Canty has missed practice all week with a knee injury.
No change in Steve Smith: There has been no difference in wide receiver Steve Smith in practice this week compared to his previous ones, according to Harbaugh. Smith is playing the Carolina Panthers on Sunday after spending 13 seasons with that organization. "He's been the same. He's worked hard. He's been in great spirits," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, the game means something to him. It means a lot to him. It would anybody. But he's in a positive state and he's got good feelings about those guys over there. He wants to do well."
Ravens thinking of Bengals' Still: Harbaugh acknowledged the 4-year-old daughter of Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still at the start of his news conference. Still's daughter had a cancerous tumor removed Thursday. "We wanted to wish her all of our prayers and all of our thoughts," Harbaugh said. "We pray for healing from this disease. She's going to make it."