SAN FRANCISCO, February 4, 2016 – The NFL Players Association announced today a donation of $100,000 to The Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation (TTDDF) in honor of Thomas Davis being named the 2016 Byron “Whizzer” White Award honoree. Davis, the first Carolina Panther to win the prestigious award, was chosen for his dedication to serving his team, community, and country in the spirit of the former Supreme Court Justice for which the award is named.
This is the 50th presentation of the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
The finalists’ applications were reviewed and voted on by a panel of judges across labor, media, sport, service and charity: Cornelius Bennett (former NFL player, NFLPA Executive Committee); Alex Marvez (Senior NFL Writer / Host, FOX Sports / SiriusXM NFL); Marc Pollick (President and Founder, The Giving Back Fund); Tim Waters (National Political Director, United Steelworkers); and the Delta Private Jets, Inc. Committee.
Davis, who has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Panthers, has long been committed to serving his community. His efforts with TTDDF earned him the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award – for which he was a finalist in 2012 and 2013 – as he worked to help youth achieve their goals through education, leadership development, and volunteerism. His program offers underprivileged children and their families free programs and helps with back-to-school giveaways, Thanksgiving meals and holiday gift giving.
On the field, the 32-year-old outside linebacker has overcome adversity to reach high levels of success. In September of 2011, Davis tore his ACL for the third time in as many years. Although no player had ever returned from three ACL surgeries, he not only returned to the field, but played his way to his first NFC Championship and Pro Bowl in 2015. Davis also serves his teammates as the NFLPA Player Representative for the Carolina Panthers.
Each team’s locker room was given the opportunity to nominate players during the regular season. The NFLPA reviewed the submissions, with each applicant awarded $5,000 for his foundation or charity of his choice. The judges, Charlie Batch, Mike Kenn and Kevin Mawae, narrowed the applicants down to five finalists.
The other finalists, who will receive additional contributions to their foundations or a charity of choice, were: Rashad Jennings (New York Giants), Stephen Tulloch (Detroit Lions), Delanie Walker (Tennessee Titans) and Benjamin Watson (New Orleans Saints).
-- Caroline Darney
Previous Justice Byron R. “Whizzer” White Award Winners:
2015 Chad Greenway, Minnesota Vikings
2014 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
2013 Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers
2012 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2011 Tony Richardson, New York Jets
2010 Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders
2009 Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia Eagles
2008 Warrick Dunn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Atlanta Falcons
2007 John Lynch, Denver Broncos
2006 Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans
2005 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
2004 Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2003 Troy Vincent, Philadelphia Eagles
2002 Mark Brunell, Jacksonville Jaguars
2001 Michael McCrary, Baltimore Ravens
2000 Doug Pelfrey, Cincinnati Bengals
1999 Cris Carter, Minnesota Vikings
1998 Hardy Nickerson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1997 Chris Zorich, Chicago Bears
1996 Bill Brooks, Buffalo Bills
1995 Derrick Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs
1994 Mark Kelso, Buffalo Bills
1993 Nick Lowery, Kansas City Chiefs
1992 Reggie White, Green Bay Packers
1991 Mike Kenn, Atlanta Falcons
1990 Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland Browns
1989 Mike Singletary, Chicago Bears
1988 Deron Cherry, Kansas City Chiefs
1987 George Martin, New York Giants
1986 Nat Moore, Miami Dolphins
1985 Reggie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals
1984 Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Chargers
1983 Doug Dieken, Cleveland Browns
1982 Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
1981 Ken Houston, Washington Redskins
1980 Gene Upshaw, Los Angeles Raiders
1979 Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys
1978 Archie Manning, New Orleans Saints
1977 Lyle Alzado, Denver Broncos
1976 Jim Hart, St. Louis Cardinals
1975 Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steelers
1974 Floyd Little, Denver Broncos
1973 Andy Russell, Pittsburgh Steelers
1972 Ray May, Baltimore Colts
1971 Kermit Alexander, Los Angeles Rams
1970 Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
1969 Ed Meador, Los Angeles Rams
1968 Willie Davis, Green Bay Packers
1967 Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers
*teams listed throughout indicate team which nominated the player.
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