We've got more stories of Colts doing great things, which is always a good thing. Earlier this week Antoine Bethea was honored as the recipient of the Colts Man of the Year Award because of his off the field contributions. Now, we have two more Colts who have been honored as nominees or recepients of awards for their off field work and character as well.
The Colts today announced that defensive end Cory Redding was selected by his teammates as the Colts' winner of the 2013 Ed Block Courage Award. This award, per the Colts' release, is described a bit more:
"The award is an annual recognition for courageous play by an individual and Redding is one of 32 National Football League players who earned the accolade. The players of each member club nominate an individual annually and those chosen are honored at a banquet in Baltimore each March."
Also from the Colts' release:
"Off the field, Redding lends his support to many charitable endeavors. In 2007, he started the Cory Redding Foundation to support educational, recreational and community assistance programs for at-risk populations. The foundation's current programs include the 3D Football Camp, the Cory Redding Middle School Challenge program and a partnership with Meals and Wheels in Austin, TX which provides meals for more than 2,000 individuals each year. Redding has also been involved with several other community events, including the CHUCKSTRONG Gala, Playground Build, Play 60 Challenge Launch Party and the Million Meal Marathon.
"The award is named after Ed Block who was the head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts from 1954-1977. He served as trainer emeritus with the club until he passed away in 1983.
"Past winners of the award dating back to 2000, include: S-Antoine Bethea (2012), DE-Robert Mathis (2011), DE-Dwight Freeney (2010), DB-Marlin Jackson (2009), C-Jeff Saturday (2008), OG-Ryan Lilja (2007), WR-Reggie Wayne (2006), LB-Cato June (2005), LB-Gary Brackett (2004), DE-Chad Bratzke (2003), LB-Rob Morris (2002), QB-Peyton Manning (2001) and DT-Bernard Whittington (2000)."
Redding is absolutely deserving of this honor and has been a tremendous addition to the team since he was signed in 2012, both for his on the field play but especially for the leadership, character, and service he has brought off the field. He is one of the team's leaders, and it is great to see him leading by example, as the other leaders do too.
Additionally, a kind gentleman emailed me on behalf of USAA to inform me of a press release that Colts punter Pat McAfee has been nominated by the Colts for the third annual Salute to Service Award, presented by the NFL and USAA. From the release, a little more about what the award is:
The NFL and USAA, the NFL's Official Military Appreciation Sponsor, announced today nominees for the third annual NFL Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. Teams nominated players, alumni, coaches and personnel who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.
Finalists for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA will be announced in January and the winner will be recognized at the "3rd Annual NFL Honors" awards show in New York City on FOX on Saturday, Feb. 1, the night before Super Bowl XLVIII. Below is a list of the 2013 Salute to Service Award nominees.
Last year, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman won the award, while the late Titans owner Bud Adams won the inaugural award in 2012.. McAfee is one of the nominees this year, and - I checked - he's the only punter nominated. He was nominated because he hosts military members at each game and because the Pat McAfee Foundation provides scholarship assistance to the sons and daughters of military members.
And then there was the event a few weeks ago, during halftime of the Colts vs. Rams game at Lucas Oil Stadium in which the Colts honored service members, where at halftime McAfee joined in the festivities. He grabbed the microphone during the halftime show and presented a military family with a new car. Inside the car was their husband/father, unexpectedly back from overseas. It was a great moment that McAfee helped orchestrate, and I'm sure that can't hurt his candidacy for this award.
The bottom line is that this is a great honor for McAfee and for all of those nominated, as they are doing a great thing. No matter who wins, the important thing is that they're not doing it for an award, they're doing it because they care for and support our military. Congratulations to Pat McAfee for having his contributions recognized with this nomination, and the winner will be announced at the awards show this February.
Both Redding and McAfee are tremendous influences in the community and are deserving of these recognitions. The coolest part is that the Colts are getting out in the community and serving, and even just as recently as the past 24 hours Pat McAfee conducted a huge twitterthon to raise money for the victims of the tornadoes in Indiana this past week, and he got several contributions from other Colts players. These type of things and acts of service by players happen often, but so often we get flooded by all the bad. This week, through three different Colts all earning recognitions that are absolutely deserved for their off field work, we get to see a bit of the bright side and that is that some - many - of these players actually are indeed good role models.
One more note: Antoine Bethea, Cory Redding, and Pat McAfee are all leaders on the team. The other leaders of the Colts are all tremendous human beings and make several contributions to the community as well. In a day and age where a team's best player often isn't the best role model, the Colts' best players are still incredible examples. That should make you proud to be a Colts fan and very happy about the atmosphere of the locker room, with these guys leading it.
Congratulations once again to Cory Redding and Pat McAfee (and also to Antoine Bethea once again). Colts fans are proud of you. Keep it up.
Also, be sure to check out the websites of the Cory Redding Foundation, the Pat McAfee Foundation, and Antoine Bethea's Safe Coverage Foundation for more information on some of what the players are doing off the field.