February 01, 2018
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long has been playing this entire season for free – actually, it might be more accurate to say he's playing for charity.
Either way, the 32-year-old donated his final 10 regular season game checks to various education programs. Long, who signed a two-year deal in the offseason, had a $1 million base salary in 2017 and has been able to secure additional contributions by encouraging fans and business to try to match his donations.
On Thursday, he got some help from the NFL Players' Association. Long was honored by his peers when he was named the 2018 winner of the Byron "Whizzer" White Award for his community efforts. In addition to the award, the NFLPA will donate $100,000 to The Chris Long Foundation.
The other finalists were free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, Broncos linebacker Von Miller, and Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
Congratulations to @JOEL9ONE for winning the NFLPA Byron "Whizzer" White #CommunityMVP Award. The award was voted on by the players of the National Football League and was presented by Delta Private Jets. pic.twitter.com/8HOfQyCd5m— NFLPA (@NFLPA) February 1, 2018
According to the NFLPA, the award is the highest honor a player can receive:
The Byron “Whizzer” White Award is the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow on a player. The NFLPA presents this prestigious annual award to the player who is just as dedicated off the field as he is on the field through community service in their team cities and hometowns.
The winner, who receives $100,000 for his foundation or a charity of his choice, is announced at the NFLPA’s annual Super Bowl press conference. Players from each team are told of the criteria and given the opportunity to nominate a teammate for the award during the NFLPA’s fall locker room visits.
The award was established by the professional football players of America to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to one of their own, Supreme Court Justice Byron Raymond “Whizzer” White—scholar, athlete, patriot, humanitarian and public servant. The honor has been presented by the NFLPA since 1967. [nflpa.org]
Last year, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins won the award for the work he's done with his own foundation.
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