On Friday, the Chicago Bears announced this year's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award is long snapper Patrick Mannelly. Each year, all 32 NFL teams identify one player to receive the award, based on sportsmanship, courage, and leadership.
For more on the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, including their mission and previous winners, click HERE.
"I've always believed that anytime you get an award from your teammates, that's one of the highest honors you can receive," Mannelly told ChicagoBears.com. "If your teammates are honoring you, it means a lot and this award means a lot to me.
"Physically, the last couple years have been a little more challenging than when I was younger. To overcome some of the injuries I've had has made these years a little more trying on this old body. But when your teammates recognize that and give you an award for your courage and sportsmanship, it means a lot."
Recent winners for the Chicago Bears:
2012: LB Nick Roach
2011: LB Brian Urlacher
2010: DT Anthony Adams
2009: DL Israel Idonije
2008: CB Charles Tillman
Mannelly holds the record for most games played for the Chicago Bears (245) and seasons played (16), and has always been respected not only by his teammates and coaches, but the fans as well.
What's next for Mannelly? He's 39 years old and due to become an unrestricted free agent. One veteran special teamer has already been notified he won't be brought back, but I know that, at least from the fans' perspective, we'll be rooting to see Mannelly get another season under his belt.