Each time, McPhee has had to gather his strength and find a way to balance his responsibilities between football and family.
"I've been through a lot, but I don't usually like to talk about it," McPhee said. "It's a sad subject, you know? I've got my faith and my friends and my family. That gets me through. I pride myself on staying strong."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh singled out McPhee along with wide receiver Torrey Smith, whose younger brother died in a motorcycle accident the night before a September win over the New England Patriots, for their resolve.
"We've had personal tragedies with guys like Torrey Smith," Harbaugh said. "Pernell McPhee has been through a lot. Coaches have been through a lot of different things that people don't know about. It's hard to understand if you're not on the inside of a team with what's going on.
"These guys are as close to that as any team that you'll ever be a part of. They really love each other, they really do, and they really care about each other. That's why they win even better as the season goes on and better as games go on they find ways to win games."
Nose guard Terrence Cody, one of McPhee's closest friends on the team, also praised his teammate's toughness.
"He's tough in every way," Cody said. "I have so much respect for him, how he handles everything. That's what being strong is really about."
McPhee didn't necessarily want sympathy. He prefers to go it alone, for the most part, and not share his feelings.
"I got a lot of love from the guys whenever something would happen," McPhee said. "They would text me, call me, coach Harbaugh, [defensive line coach Clarence Brooks], [defensive coordinator Dean Pees], everybody. It meant a lot to me, but I'm basically a loner. That's how I am. I feel like you got to be a man about it and take your lumps. What can you do?
"I kept my faith in God. I knew I had to deal with it. Everything happens for a reason. The man above has a plan, he really does. We might not always understand it at first, but there's a plan for all of us. What I've been through, it makes you appreciate life. It really humbles you, but I don't dwell on anything. I just don't believe in that."