The Baltimore Ravens announced on Tuesday that the team elected linebacker Jameel McClain as their 2013 Ed Block Courage Award winner.
Over the the course of the last few years I have gotten to know Jameel from his various community efforts and being involved with his foundation and they could not have selected a better man, teammate or person.
Each year, the Ed Block Courage Awards honors those National Football League players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. This award is unique in that the recipients are selected solely by a vote of their teammates. Every fall all thirty two teams conduct a vote which results in each team selecting their Ed Block Courage Award recipient for the year.
As many know McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion in Baltimore’s Week 13 game against the Washington Redskins last season. Many folks, including some doctors, thought McClain’s playing days were over; however, to Jameel it was just another hurdle to overcome as he has done so much of throughout his life.
“People counted me out,” McClain was quoted as saying on the teams website. “I was told I’d never play again and that I should focus on life after football. But I wasn’t going to succumb. All I could do was believe in myself, which I’ve always done. I fought the odds before, and I’ll fight the odds again. I’ve always believed in myself and tuned out the negativity. If you look now, I’m still here – still doing what I love and fighting for my team.”
McClain made his season debut for the Ravens in week seven against Pittsburgh where not only did he start and recorded six tackles but also played on special teams.
“God definitely had his hands on me. He let me know, he was the one that pushed me through and said, ‘Don’t quit, keep going.’ Then at the end he was the one who finished it off and said, ‘Go back and do what you love,'” McClain told members of the media after the game.
While agreeing to a reduction in pay this offseason, McClain has been playing solid in 2013 recording 25 tackles (15 solo) while splitting playing time with Josh Bynes and rookie Arthur Brown.
What continues to impress me the most about McClain is his dedication to helping others. When not on the football field Jameel has been a huge contributor in giving back to the community. From his annual backpack giveaways to his partnership with the Salvation Army Baltimore Area Command or his “53 Families” Thanksgiving event McClain is making Maryland a better place.
It has been truly an honor to watch Jameel grow as a football player and as a humanitarian, I am proud to be a part of his “Team McClain”
The Courage Award has become one of the most esteemed honors bestowed upon a player in the NFL, especially since the recipient is selected by his peers.
For more information about the Ed Block Courage Award or Foundation please visit http://www.edblock.org
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