Recipients of this year's Ed Block Courage Award were announced Tuesday, and Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Michael Vick's name is still on the list.
Animal-rights advocates criticized the Eagles for choosing as its honoree a player who has served a prison sentence in connection with a dogfighting operation marked by the killing of canines. The award, named after a longtime Baltimore Colts trainer and humanitarian, seeks to honor players who "exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage."
And though a board member of the Baltimore-based charity expressed surprise Monday over the Eagles' selection, and said members would meet that night to discuss the matter, it appears that there was no attempt to remove Vick from the list.
During Tuesday's official award announcement, Ed Block foundation spokesman Paul Mittermeier read from a prepared statement regarding Vick:
"Since its inception, the Ed Block Courage Award has been presented to NFL players that were selected solely by their teammates," Mittermeier read. "The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation cherishes its relationship with the NFL and each NFL team. ... Michael Vick is just one of 32 NFL players that will receive an Ed Block Courage Award for 2009."
Mittermeier said Vick would be among those invited to attend the award ceremony in Baltimore in March. He added that the board did not ask the Eagles to rescind their selection and that Monday's meeting did not pertain specifically to Vick but was a regularly scheduled gathering. He said he did not attend the meeting and did not know whether the Vick matter had been discussed.
Ravens safety Dawan Landry, who missed most of last season with a serious neck injury, said Tuesday that he had no problems with Vick being named the Eagles' award winner.
"With all of the things he's gone through in the past year or so, I think it showed a lot of courage for him to get back on his feet," Landry said. "He's doing well with that organization [the Eagles], and his peers voted for him for it. So I'm all for it."
- Joe Burris
Pro bowl: Brett Favre and Peyton Manning already were Pro Bowl regulars when they were selected to this season's game. Favre was among eight Minnesota Vikings who made the NFC team, while Manning was one of six Indianapolis Colts on the AFC squad. It will be Favre's 11th Pro Bowl and the 10th for Manning. No other quarterbacks have been to 10.
Favre will be a backup to New Orleans' Drew Brees, the NFL's top-rated passer. The other NFC quarterback will be Aaron Rodgers, who replaced Favre in Green Bay last year.
Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo is the lone rookie on the NFC squad. Orakpo is the first Redskins rookie selected for the Pro Bowl in 31 years.
For the full list of Pro Bowl selections, please go to baltimoresun.com/sports.