Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin named the 2023 Alan Page Community Award winner
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was named the 2023 Alan Page Community Award winner in Phoenix on Wednesday.
Hamlin was selected among four other finalists: New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones, Washington Commanders offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White.
The NFLPA Alan Page Community Award is the highest honor that the NFL Players Association can bestow upon a player. The award annually recognizes a player who goes above and beyond to perform community service in his team's home city and/or hometown, according to the NFLPA. The award dates back to 1967, when Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr was the first recipient. Last year's winner was Rodney McLeod, then of the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Giving back to my community has always been a big part of who I am," Hamlin said after accepting the Alan Page Community Award. "Thankful to my father who is right here behind me, growing up and just watching him do community days in our community. I just was always waiting on my time when it came."
You’ve inspired so many @HamlinIsland—this ones for you.
The 2023 Alan Page Community Award Winner. pic.twitter.com/pky4vcQt7M
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) February 8, 2023
The football community rallied around Hamlin after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during a "Monday Night Football" game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. This resulted Hamlin's GoFundMe toy drive fundraiser with a $2,500 goal unexpectedly raising more than $8.6 million in donations. Hamlin has indicated that he plans to support young people through education and sports with those donations.
Hamlin also has said that he will use proceeds from the sale of new T-shirts, emblazoned with "Did We Win?" along with his hands in the shape of a heart, to raise money for the trauma center in Cincinnati that treated him.
Hamlin showed remarkable recovery from his cardiac arrest. Three weeks later, Hamlin attended the Bills' divisional playoff game against the Bengals. With two minutes to go in the first half, Hamlin appeared on the stadium video board, opening the window to the suite where he was watching the game and making his signature "heart" sign to an explosion of cheers from the Bills faithful.
"I thought it was a pretty cool moment; the game wasn't trending the way we wanted it to, but when they put him on the big screen, just a great moment, keeping perspective on where he was just a few weeks ago," Bills coach Sean McDermott said after the game, which the Bills lost 27-10.
Contributing: Jarrett Bell and Steve Gardner, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Damar Hamlin named Alan Page Community Award winner for 2023