The Philadelphia Eagles’ players all voted to determine the winner of the Ed Block award, given to the Eagle who has shown the most courage. The players unanimously voted for Michael Vick, who as a result won the award. There is something to be said for when an entire team feels one way about a player, and that may have some validity in this case.
However, I can’t help but question the decision to give Michael Vick the award. Let’s recap what he has been through. He killed dogs in dogfighting matches when he was the franchise player for the Atlanta Falcons, then spent about 2 years in prison. He came back and signed with the Eagles, which was about the only bidder for Vick. Now, with the Eagles, he has had very limited playing time.
Therefore, my question is, what makes him deserving of the courage award? What was he so courageous about? He handled himself like a professional, said all the right things, and did not complain about his backup role. However, I fail to see why every Eagle player thinks that he is the most courageous player on the team.
How about Sheldon Brown, who is getting underpaid, complained about his contract before the season, and still went out and played a pro-bowl caliber season. That is playing for the love of the game and not worrying about the money, like almost every other NFL player does. Sheldon has also been playing with a torn ligament in his leg as well.
Therefore, when you think about players with courage, it is important to look beyond the obvious. Michael Vick may have the best story, where he improved himself and now acts like a professional, but a courage award is one specifically where a player shows courage over the course of the season. Michael Vick hasn’t showed extraordinary courage, but instead is acting like any NFL player should.
When one looks at Sheldon Brown, one sees a Pro-Bowl caliber corner, playing for love of the game after not engaging in any contract negotiations that he desired, and playing tremendously with a slightly torn ligament. That is courage.