UPDATE>> Shortly after publishing this article, news broke that Tray Walker passed away at age 23. Please join us in keeping the Ravens organization in your thoughts and prayers.
John Harbaugh got that bone-chilling call that all coaches dread on Thursday night – one of his players had been hurt in an accident.
After getting the call that Ravens corner Tray Walker was critically injured in a motorcycle accident, Harbaugh says he was so worried that he couldn’t sleep, and he was compelled to write a letter to his team. Normally he’d meet with them in person, but seeing that they won’t all be together again officially until training camp, a letter was the most logical vehicle to deliver his message.
Harbaugh’s letter is moving, and is a great example of delivering a well-thought out, composed message to his team during a time of need. You may remember Harbaugh’s last letter a year or so ago about “Why Football Matters,” this one is just as good.
Here’s the content of the letter, courtesy of the Ravens website.
An Open Letter to Our Team
Right now, this moment is an incredibly difficult time for our Team and our Family. One of our Brothers, Tray Walker, is fighting for his life. I know we are showering him, and covering he and his family, with Prayer and hope.
That was the kind of phone call you never want get as a coach, as a parent, as a brother, as a friend. This shook me and all of us. Like some of you, I haven’t been able to rest since hearing the news late last night.
As I focused about Tray this morning, some thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share. What would I say to my own son, if I had a son, in a situation like this? You guys are that important to me.
This is what I would be saying to you in the team meeting room if we were together today: There is a lot going on out there and you are going to be involved in tough and difficult situations. You are making and will continue to make important choices pretty much every day. That’s okay. That’s our reality. It can even be very good to be put in different circumstances. To make it right, you are going to have to grow up fast. Probably faster than many of your friends and family.
Please remember to…
Lead in your home. Take care of Your Family and Yourself every single day. Think about who you are and where you are going, and what you stand for. Look after one another. Only then can you be your most effective on the job and in every area of your life.
Please consider your actions and choices. There are always consequences. Choose who you allow to advise you. Consider the quality of the council you take. Put yourself in positions to succeed. Turn away from unnecessary and risky behavior. Take care of your physical well-being. Live a healthy lifestyle. Pursue those things that make you better. Rest well. Eat well. Laugh with those who you love and love you. Fulfill your obligations effectively.
Be your own best friend. Do not be an enemy onto yourself. Turn away from trouble and harm. Walk away from foolish behavior. Ignore silly and unwise advice – You’ll know it when you see it.
Get to know those people in your life who manage to walk free from the weight of self-created obstacles. Get close to those who have gone where you want to go, and have accomplished what you want to accomplish. Grow Spiritually. Think about what and who you want to become.
I am asking you to consider what is at stake in your life. Consider what your thoughts, actions and choices mean to those around you. Live your life fully and with purpose. Have fun and share your happiness. Find Your Faith, and allow God to Grow Your Faith.
Let’s look out for one another. Be a great brother and friend. Inquire. Listen. Ask. Investigate. Reach out. Be There. Take a Step. Go For It.
Remember, We are Brothers in Arms. And, again, take care of each other.