Tight end Zach Miller will be presented with the Bears’ 2018 Ed Block Courage Award Tuesday at a luncheon at Manzo’s Banquets 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.
Miller and the other winners were previously honored March 23 at the Ed Block Courage Award Gala in Baltimore.
Each NFL team participating in the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation program selects a “Courage House” that supports victims of abuse, violence and neglect. The Bears’ designated Courage House is Maryville Academy’s Crisis Nursery in Des Plaines. Maryville is a social service agency which sponsors programs for children and families. Maryville’s Crisis Nursery provides temporary emergency child care for families in crisis.
Over the past 17 months, Miller has been rehabbing and recovering from a serious injury that nearly cost him his left leg. On Oct. 29, 2017 in New Orleans, the veteran tight end suffered a dislocated knee and torn popliteal artery while catching an apparent 25-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky that was later reversed to an incomplete pass following a replay review.
Miller was rushed to the University Medical Center in New Orleans, where he underwent emergency vascular surgery. Bears doctors and trainers helped save his leg by quickly diagnosing a vascular issue that required immediate attention. Miller has had a total of nine surgeries during a grueling rehabilitation process.
“Many of our children and families have faced great challenges,” Sister Catherine M. Ryan, Maryville Academy’s executive director, said on the organization’s website. “It is fitting that this NFL player who began as a college walk-on serves as an inspiration to those whose paths were not easy, but still full of love, and glory, and success.”
The Ed Block Courage Award luncheon also honors the late Ed McCaskey by raising money for a fund in his name that provides high school, college and vocational scholarships to the children of Maryville. During his tenure with the Bears—first as vice president and treasurer and later as chairman and chairman emeritus—McCaskey was known for his generosity to Maryville.
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.
Block and his wife dedicated their lives to helping children in distress as foster parents and advisers. There are presently 23 Courage Houses connected with NFL teams and this is the 39th year the awards have been presented.