Byron "Whizzer" White Award Recognizes Players For Community Work
INDIANAPOLIS –This week, an Indianapolis Colts player will receive national recognition for his community outreach efforts. On Thursday, April 16, linebacker Gary Brackett will be recognized at the NFL Players Gala in Washington, D.C. as a JB Award Honoree and one of 12 finalists for the Byron "Whizzer" White Award. This award, the NFL Players Association's highest honor, is presented annually to a player who has served his team, community and country in the spirit of Justice Byron Raymond White.
Every year, one player is nominated by his team for the Byron "Whizzer" White Award. Twelve finalists are then selected from the pool of 32 and invited to attend the Gala, where the national winner is named. Each of the 12 finalists also is recognized as a JB Award Honoree, named after James Brown, host of "THE NFL TODAY" on CBS. Gary Brackett was the Colts' 2009 nominee for his outreach efforts both in Indianapolis and his hometown of Glassboro, N.J. While in Washington, D.C. for the Awards Gala, Brackett will join other finalists in hosting a football clinic for more than 75 Special Olympic athletes.
Since joining the Colts in 2003 as an undrafted free agent, Brackett has become a key part of the Colts defense and has contributed significantly to the Indianapolis community. After losing his brother to leukemia in 2005, Brackett launched his IMPACT Foundation in 2007 to provide opportunities and resources to families and children affected by cancer. Through several annual programs and events, including Gary's Locker and the TendHER Heart Luncheon, Brackett offers support to hundreds of Indiana families.
Over the past several years, Brackett also has supported the Indiana Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Brooke's Place and the Colts Bleed Blue Blood Drive. In addition, he hosts a free youth football camp for students in Glassboro, N.J., and has participated in the 2006 and 2008 NFL Charities Player High School Matching Grant, donating $10,000 to Glassboro High School.
Through the Colts Community Ticket Block Program, Brackett donates 200 tickets, t-shirts and meal vouchers each year to allow local underserved youth the opportunity to attend a Colts game. He also has participated in the Colts Cold Feet, Warm Shoes event, shared his personal testimony in the 2006 Colts Faith & Football DVD and helped solicit more than $15,000 from his teammates to support families the United Christmas Service. Brackett's previous community awards include the 2004 Colts Ed Block Courage Award, 2006 and 2008 Colts Man of the Year nominations and the 2008 President's Volunteer Service Award.
The other 2009 JB Award recipients and Byron "Whizzer" White Award finalists include Kurt Warner (Arizona Cardinals), Daniel Wilcox (Baltimore Ravens), Mike Furrey (Detroit Lions), Tony Pashos (Jacksonville Jaguars), Greg Camarillo (Miami Dolphins), Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Brian Dawkins (Philadelphia Eagles), Chris Draft (St. Louis Rams), Isaac Bruce (San Francisco 49ers), David Thornton (Tennessee Titans) and Rock Cartwright (Washington Redskins).