News & Events

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
NFLPA Communications



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.

Tags Byron Whizzer

Related Stories