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Gbaja-Biamila, Other NFL 'Unsung Heroes' To Be Honored At Gala


Troy Vincent of the Philadelphia Eagles, recipient of this year's Byron "Whizzer" White Award, will be honored along with 32 current NFL players, including Green Bay Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, at the 30th Annual NFL Fever/NFL Players Awards Gala, on Thursday, April 10, 2003 at the Hilton Washington Hotel. A cocktail reception and silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner and awards gala to follow at 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by the NFL Players Association and PLAYERS INC, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFLPA, the event recognizes and honors one player from each NFL team for his contributions both on the field and in his community. Both NFL players and fans cast ballots for their heroes. The Byron "Whizzer" White Award was named to commemorate the spirit of Hall of Fame inductee Justice Byron "Whizzer" White, a remarkable athlete who exemplified leadership on and off the field through his humanitarian efforts and his public service achievements as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. All proceeds from the banquet are donated to D.C. Special Olympics.

Troy Vincent's community service activities are numerous, including work with organizations such as the Police Athletic League, Boys & girls Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Young Scholars Program. He serves on the board of directors for the Philadelphia Business Leadership Series, the Christian Business Network, and the Professional Business and Financial Network. Vincent's community honors include the Pennsbury Athletic Hall of Fame (2003), Philadelphia Emmy Humanitarian Award (2003), Philadelphia Eagles Hero Award (2002), Philadelphia Man of the Year Award (2001), NFL New Jersey Association's Player of the Year (2001), Sporting News Good Guy Honor Roll (2001), NFL Alumni Man of the Year Award (2000) and the Ed Block Courage Award (1994).

One Unsung Hero will receive the first ever 2002 Kids Choice Award, given to a player for his commitment to youth programs; as selected by the winner of an essay contest held in several middle schools in District of Columbia. The participating students were asked to write about the importance of NFL player involvement in community youth programs. The Kids Choice Award winner will be named at the gala.

As a precursor to the evening activities, several of the NFL players will participate in a basketball game with Special Olympics athletes at Gonzaga High School on Thursday morning from 10:00am until noon.

The event is being filmed for a one-hour television special set to air in early August on FOX Sports Net, and will feature FOX personalities James Brown and Pam Oliver. Bonnie Bernstein of CBS Sports and local sports anchor Rene Knott of WJLA-TV in Washington, will serve as emcees for the awards gala on Thursday night.

Since the Awards Banquet was founded in 1972, the NFL Players Association has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to several worthy causes. For the eighth consecutive year the banquet will benefit the Washington D.C. Special Olympics. Founded by Eunice Shriver, Special Olympics provides sports training and competition opportunities for people who are mentally challenged.

The organization has established chapters in more than 20,000 communities and 140 countries around the world. For the last several years, the D.C. chapter has lost funding from the City, and the NFLPA and PLAYERS INC have rallied behind them to solicit support from local and international unions and corporations.

NFL Fever, the title sponsor of the gala, is Microsoft Game Studios' exclusive football title for the Xbox video game system. NFL Fever 2004 is due out in stores this summer, just in time for the start of the 2003 season.


Founded by the NFLPA in 1994, PLAYERS INC creates and develops marketing opportunities for current and former NFL players. Representing over 1,800 active and 3,000 retired NFL players, PLAYERS INC "takes the helmets off the players", giving fans the opportunity to see the players' personalities and talents off the field. PLAYERS INC is involved in licensed merchandise programs, corporate sponsorships and promotions, special events, music and video recordings, as well as television, radio and Internet ( PLAYERS INC schedules more than 2,500 NFL player appearances each year.

Schedule Of Events

Basketball Game w/ NFL players and Special Olympics Athletes (Gonzaga High School, 19 "I" Street, N.W.) 10:00 a.m. -- Noon

Cocktail Reception/Silent Auction (Hilton Washington Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Avenue) 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Dinner/Awards Ceremony (Hilton Washington) 6:30 p.m.

2002 Unsung Heroes

Arizona Cardinals - Frank Sanders

Atlanta Falcons - Keith Brooking

Baltimore Ravens - Edgerton Hartwell

Buffalo Bills - Larry Centers

Carolina Panthers - Mike Rucker

Chicago Bears - Olin Kreutz

Cincinnati Bengals - Lorenzo Neal

Cleveland Browns - Brant Boyer

Dallas Cowboys - Dexter Coakley

Denver Broncos - Ed McCaffrey

Detroit Lions - Cory Schlesinger

Green Bay Packers - Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

Houston Texans - Seth Payne

Indianapolis Colts - Tarik Glenn

Jacksonville Jaguars - Wali Rainer

Kansas City Chiefs - Priest Holmes

Miami Dolphins - Tim Bowens

Minnesota Vikings - Chris Hovan

New England Patriots - Adam Vinatieri

New Orleans Saints - Michael Lewis

New York Giants - Dan Campbell

New York Jets - Kevin Swayne

Oakland Raiders - Roland Williams

Philadelphia Eagles - Brian Mitchell

Pittsburgh Steelers - Lethon Flowers

San Diego Chargers - Donnie Edwards

San Francisco 49ers - Fred Beasley

Seattle Seahawks - Mack Strong

St. Louis Rams - Grant Wistrom

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Shelton Quarles

Tennessee Titans - Kevin Carter

Washington Redskins - Jon Jansen

Byron Whizzer White Award Winner

Troy Vincent - Philadelphia Eagles

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