GREEN BAY – Packers strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Gizzi is the team's 2021 nominee for the NFL's annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.
The award recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.
Each team nominates one individual and then finalists are announced in January, with the winner recognized at NFL Honors, the league's prime-time awards show that airs prior to the Super Bowl.
Gizzi is in his third season as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator and his eighth overall on the coaching staff, having been hired as a strength and conditioning assistant in 2014. He first returned to Green Bay as a coaching intern 12 years after playing for the Packers.
A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Gizzi played linebacker for the Packers in the 2000-01 seasons. At the first Monday Night Football game following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Gizzi served as special teams captain and memorably led the team out of the Lambeau Field tunnel carrying an American flag.
While on the coaching staff, Gizzi has worked to give back to the military and veterans in several ways. He mentors students interested in serving by visiting with them about his experiences, and he speaks at veterans events to support military nonprofit groups.
Two years ago, Gizzi hosted the Packers Huddle for Heroes in Green Bay, which partnered current Packers players with local veterans groups to show appreciation for veterans, listening to their stories and writing letters to active-duty military members.
Gizzi's decorated football career at Air Force included back-to-back Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1996 and '97. In May 2019, he was inducted into the Air Force Athletics Hall of Fame.
Upon graduating from Air Force in 1997, Gizzi's football career was put on hold for two years while he honored his U.S. military commitment. He spent part of that time as a graduate assistant and then defensive assistant coach for the Air Force Academy football team.
Having spent parts of the 1998 and '99 offseasons with the Broncos while fulfilling his military commitment, Gizzi was eventually released by Denver just prior to the start of the 2000 season and claimed on waivers by the Packers.