The Buccaneers announced on Thursday that linebacker Lavonte David was the recipient of the team’s Ed Block Courage Award.
Each year all 32 teams hold a vote amongst their players to decide four candidates and ultimately the team’s award winner. The Ed Block Courage award “honors those National Football League players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”
“In my mind all of those guys are deserving because of what they go through on a week-to-week basis,” Dirk Koetter said. “The way I understand it, it’s a combination of overcoming injuries to stay on the field and community service also comes into play. We have a lot of guys that are deserving – and I wasn’t the vote counter so I’m not sure what the vote was – but Lavonte won.”
A sprained MCL forced David to sit out of the Bucs’ match up against the Giants and 49ers in weeks 11 and 12, only to respond with 34 total tackles (two for a loss) and a fumble recovery over the team’s last three games.
As far as his community work, David works alongside Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and through his own Lavonte David Foundation, an organization dedicated to assist college-bound students who are financially challenged.
“It just means that I earned respect from a lot of these guys in the locker room,” David said when asked what the award meant to him. “Not only as a football player but as a person through what I try to do in the community and how much I try to give back. It means a lot for those guys to vote for me because we’re not just teammates, I don’t look at these guys as just teammates, we’re all friends outside of the locker room and things like that, so I’ve got a great relationship with everybody and they know how much I care about playing football but also the things I do in the community.”
Koetter also mentioned that the team’s winner last year, Will Gholston, spoke in the team meeting this week about his experience going to Baltimore for the ceremony and visiting local hospitals with the other award winners.
“I think it’s something that the players, on the three teams I’ve been associated with, take seriously,” Koetter said. “It’s a nice honor and I just think we have more than one guy but Lavonte was it for us.”