Safety Jairus Byrd was announced as the Buffalo Bills’ winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. The Bills’ safety was awarded inside the Jim Kelly Club Suite at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Tuesday night. The kind folks at Gateway-Longview hosted the event, and invited the BuffaLowDown to cover the proceedings, which were also attended by Jim Kelly, Steve Tasker, Paul Posluszny, Chris Kelsay and Aaron Maybin.
Each team in the NFL selects one player from their team to win the award. Buffalobills.com says the award is given to a “player who exemplifies a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. The recipient symbolizes professionalism, great strength, dedication and serves as a community role model for others.”
Steve Tasker, winner of the award in 1989, told the BuffaLowDown that the award is “given to a certain type of person who comes back from a tough injury.”
Besides Byrd, Gateway-Longview recognized members of the community who have been positive influences in the lives of children.
Byrd hardly spoke at all during the evening, accepting his award gracefully after a glowing introduction revealed that he had come back this season from four surgeries on his lower body.
While Byrd has not enjoyed the same statistical success as he did a season ago, when he intercepted nine passes in 13 games to earn Pro Bowl honors, he has shown grit and toughness in getting back on the field, and is part of the foundation for the Bills moving forward.
Posluszny noted that Byrd is, “A great leader, really dependable, and a guy we can always count on to do the right thing.”
Off the field stories for athletes often focus on sensationalized mistakes, affairs, and wrongdoings, but there are many players who do a lot of good off the field that goes unnoticed.
Byrd’s work in the community was a mentioned during the night, and even the presence of guys like Posluszny and Maybin on their day off shows that they’re, at the very least, good teammates.
Former Bill Jim Kelly could be seen going out of his way to congratulate, not just Jairus Byrd, but all the award winners on the evening.
While it is a lost season in many ways for the Bills, their character has never come into question, and that is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is a team that doesn’t give up, and for all of their faults as a football team, is a group of men that the city of Buffalo can be proud to be represented by.
Thanks again to Gateway-Longview, not only for our invite to the event, but for all they do in the lives of children. Also, thanks to Paul Posulszny and Steve Tasker, who took the time out to grant brief interviews to the BuffaLowDown, which will be appearing on the site in the coming days.