BALTIMORE (WJZ)—An NFL referee credits the Ravens for possibly saving his life.
Sports director Mark Viviano has the unusual story that just recently came to light for the team.
It’s an amazing set of circumstances that goes back to the Sept. 11 season opener of this football season. A battle between the Ravens and the Steelers had a referee caught up in the action– first in a bad way, but ultimately good.
The Ravens-Steelers season opener was a rough one, even for the guys in stripes. During one scrimmage, referee Tony Corrente tumbled to the turf and suffered from what he believed to be a head injury. He would continue to work the game.
Weeks later, while seeing a doctor for what he thought were symptoms of the head injury, Corrente was diagnosed with throat cancer.
That’s news he shared with the Ravens recently.
“He said probably if not for that circumstance they would’ve never discovered it. And so he got a little emotional and felt like the Lord works in mysterious ways,” coach John Harbaugh said at a news conference.
Corrente sought out Matt Birk and Michael Oher—two of the players that knocked him down during that season opener scuffle—essentially to thank them for saving his life.
“The one thing I know I’ll probably take with me for the rest of my life is being told that story and how it related to him in saving his life. You always try to see your glass as half full. And when this whole thing happened, he said he finally realized that his glass was all the way full. I just thought that was awesome. And certainly talking to him was a very humbling experience,” Birk said at a news conference.
Corrente started getting cancer treatments in October but continues to work playoff games. He’ll soon undergo radiation treatments and is unsure of his future as an official but says the NFL has been a supportive family through it all.