One of the longest-tenured and most underrated players on the Indianapolis Colts roster was recognized by his teammates recently, as offensive lineman Joe Reitz was voted the Colts' recipient of the 2015 Ed Block Courage Award.
The Award is given to a member of each team annually, as selected by teammates. The Award recognizes courage and is presented in honor of Ed Block (who was an athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts from 1954-1977), and in March the 32 winners will be honored at a banquet in Baltimore.
"Joe is one of the most respected men in our locker room," head coach Chuck Pagano said, through a statement released by the team. "He is a leader on and off the field due to his high character and selflessness. He is a humanitarian who loves to use his platform as an NFL player to help others. We are proud of Joe and how he serves his family, coaches, teammates, community and the horseshoe."
"It's an honor to receive the Ed Block Courage Award," Reitz said. "To know that my teammates nominated me is very humbling for myself and my family. I'm extremely grateful I get to play in the NFL for a living. I'm just as grateful having the opportunity to give back to the community that I grew up in. I love Indianapolis and look forward to having the chance to continue to serve the great people here in Indiana."
Reitz has made an impact both on and off the field while with the Colts. He is in his fifth season with the team and has played in 53 games, starting 31. This year, he has had as big of an impact as ever after the Colts opted to re-sign him in the offseason. After the first two games, the Colts made changes to their offensive line and Reitz has started the past seven games at right tackle, doing a good job as well.
Off the field, the Indiana native is very active in his efforts as well. The Colts' press release described many of his endeavors:
The Fishers, Ind. native is very passionate about supporting his fellow Hoosiers and is heavily involved in charitable endeavors in the greater Indianapolis region. He has hosted youth football camps at Hamilton Southeastern High School, St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Carmel, Ind. Reitz worked with the Knights of Columbus to host a Special Olympics mini combine at the Colts practice facility in February of 2015. He has visited Riley Hospital for Children to meet with patients during the holiday season. For the last three years, Reitz and his wife have hosted a Tackling Homelessness Event for Horizon House. He is active in Christian outreach efforts and Indianapolis CYO programs. Reitz has served as a guest speaker for All Pro Dad's Chapter Breakfast at Hazel Dell Elementary School and at Coburn Place's Blue Breakfast.
Reitz joins other notable Colts as the recipient of the award, such as Dwayne Allen (2014), Cory Redding (2011), Antoine Bethea (2012), Robert Mathis (2011), and many others, such as Peyton Manning (2001), Reggie Wayne (2006), Jeff Saturday (2008), and Dwight Freeney (2010).
Reitz is the definition of what Chuck Pagano likes to call a "horseshoe guy" and he has made an impact both on and off the field. On the field, Reitz has been a solid right tackle for the Colts this year and has capably stepped in over the past several years when needed. Off the field, Reitz has made an even bigger impact and has been committed to helping others. We often hear a lot of negatives about NFL players, but it's great to hear about someone like Joe Reitz who is making a positive impact. Congrats to Reitz on a very well-deserved honor.