Kicker Robbie Gould, the Bears' longest tenured player, was honored as the team's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award Tuesday at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.
The prestigious awards are presented to one player on all 32 NFL teams who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room. The award recipients, who are voted for by their teammates, symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and they are considered community role models.
"And then just everything it stands for—the commitment to the community, the commitment to professionalism, integrity—[are] things that I think should be instilled in young kids today. So to be an ambassador for the Ed Block Foundation at an event like this is pretty special."
Ed Block was a long-time head trainer with the Baltimore Colts who was a pioneer in his field. The foundation promotes the prevention of child abuse by raising awareness of the epidemic and assisting agencies that provide for the care and treatment of abused children.
Bears punter Patrick O'Donnell and long-snapper Patrick Scales attended Tuesday's event to support Gould. Bears ownership was represented by Virginia McCaskey, Brian McCaskey and Patrick McCaskey, who spoke glowingly about his father, Ed, who passed away in 2003.
The Ed Block Courage Award luncheon also honors Ed McCaskey by raising money for a scholarship fund in his name. During his tenure with the Bears, McCaskey was known for his generosity to Maryville. The memorial fund, which benefits Maryville's education programs, was established to carry on the spirit of giving that was so much a part of his life.
"I know it means a lot to the McCaskeys," Gould said. "Sometimes you can get lost in the day-to-day working out and lifting and you kind of lose sight of things that are important to the family and things that are important to the organization. To be able to share something that's special to them and be able to give back a little bit to me means a lot."
Gould is the most accurate field-goal kicker in Bears history and is also the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 1,207 points. He set that record last season while also establishing team marks for field goals made (276) and field goals made from 50 yards and beyond (23).
Gould signed with the Bears in 2005 and has played his entire 11-year NFL career in Chicago. He's the lone remaining member of the 2006 team that reached Super Bowl XLI.
"There are certain things in my career that are special to me," Gould said. "One of those moments reflecting on my career is watching Mrs. McCaskey hold up the NFC Championship trophy. As odd as it sounds, I'm sure she would love to hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy again, even though it's the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
"Every day when I get up in the morning I'm dedicated to winning a Super Bowl. I'm dedicated to becoming a better player. I'm also dedicated to doing some of the activities that I think the family looks for in their athletes. That means a lot and this is just one of those days on the calendar for them that's special and means a lot."