In a vote by his teammates, New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston has been named the club's 2022 Ed Block Courage Award winner, which is given annually to a player from each National Football League team who has persevered through adversity.
The award was created in honor of the former head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts to annually recognize one player from every NFL team who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.
Winston's teammates voted him as the club's winner based on his work ethic and perseverance through several injuries from 2021-22. Winston first suffered a torn ACL in the team's victory over Tampa Bay on Oct. 31, 2021. Shortly thereafter, Winston would have reconstructive surgery, looking at an extensive rehabilitation period in front of him for an injury that often sidelines a player for up to a year.
Winston underwent a rigorous rehabilitation process in the remainder of the 2021 calendar year and throughout the 2022 offseason and returned to the practice field for the start of OTA's, less than eight months after suffering the injury. He returned to the playing field in the Aug. 27 preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers and then helped quarterback New Orleans to a come-from-behind 27-26 season-opening victory at Atlanta on Sept. 11.
Winston faced additional adversity early in the season when he suffered back and ankle injuries, which he again ardently rehabilitated from, continuing to provide valuable leadership and inspiration to the club as a team captain.
Outside of football, Winston has been one of the team's community leaders since first signing with New Orleans in 2020. In 2021, following Southeast Louisiana's extensive damage suffered from Hurricane Ida, Winston donated $50,000 to the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, collaborated to raise funds for the World Central Kitchen to provide meals to those in need, as well as supplying bottled water, drinks, snacks and construction supplies to local first responders. Winston also partnered with teammate and fellow team captain Cameron Jordan to donate $1,000 per team touchdown ($43,000) and $1,000 per team sack ($46,000) to provide $89,000 to deserving local non-profits to aid the region's rebuilding efforts. On July 25, 2022, prior to the start of training camp, Winston made a surprise visit to the football team at George Washington Carver High School. Winston spent significant time with the young men, discussing his personal tenets of faith, the importance of education and working to achieve dreams. Winston also had the team out to attend a training camp practice, providing them with the opportunity to meet several teammates. On Nov. 22, Winston again took a lead role with his teammates in terms of donations and participation in the team's annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway at the Dryades YMCA, providing turkeys, sides and fixings for holiday meals to hundreds in need, while providing encouragement to those who attended.