The annual award is bestowed upon 32 NFL players for courageous play, and they are honored at a Baltimore banquet in March.
“It’s very humbling to receive the Ed Block Courage Award,” Allen said in a team release. “It’s even more humbling knowing that it was voted on by my peers and knowing that they think of me in such a way to reward me. I never serve the community with the thought of receiving anything back and I always try to serve to the best of my ability. I’m truly grateful.”
The third-year pro is regarded as one of the Colts’ most kind-hearted guys, someone who makes a constant commitment to the community. He’s also shown his character as a player, coming back from hip surgery that limited his 2013 to one game.
Allen, a third-round pick out of Clemson, has 26 catches for 374 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns this season. His TD total is tied for fourth among NFL tight ends.
“This guy is a selfless guy. He’s a great player but he’s a better person,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “I know he spends a great deal of time giving back and serving. We talk all the time here about team first and self second and serving. He does it on the football field and he does it in the locker room. He’s not a real loud guy around here. He lets his actions speak for themselves.“He’s one of those guys that whatever time he has away from football, you know he’s doing something for the community and spending time out in the community and giving back. He’s one of those guys that has a great appreciation for the blessings that he has. He certainly understands that this is a privilege, and not a right, and he’s taken full advantage of the platform he has to give back, to serve our community, serve the team and serve the horseshoe. He’s a horseshoe guy through and through. He’s a great, great person.”
Allen joins a select group of recognizable Colts who have won the award, including defensive end Cory Redding (2013), safety Antoine Bethea (2012), defensive end Robert Mathis (2011), defensive end Dwight Freeney (2010), cornerback Marlin Jackson (2009), center Jeff Saturday (2008), offensive guard Ryan Lilja (2007), wide receiver Reggie Wayne (2006), linebacker Cato June (2005), linebacker Gary Brackett (2004), defensive end Chad Bratzke (2003), linebacker Rob Morris (2002), quarterback Peyton Manning (2001) and defensive tackle Bernard Whittington (2000).
Allen has started all 26 career games he’s appeared in and caught 72 passes for 915 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also contributed on special teams with five tackles and a forced fumble. In 2012, Allen led all NFL rookie tight ends in receptions (45) and receiving yards (521), while setting a Colts single-season rookie record for receptions by a tight end.
Off the field, Allen lends his support to many charitable endeavors. As Player Executive for DREAM Alive, he serves not only as the professional face of the organization for at-risk youth, but also participates in program development and implementation. Allen donates his Colts Community ticket block to the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation and has been a spokesperson for the LIBRARYSTRONG campaign in partnership with the foundation. In support of Black History Month, he hosted a SUPER Read Challenge and donated two Colts season tickets as the grand prize.
Allen is involved with the NFL’s NO MORE Campaign, the 2014 Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Annual Dinner, Colts Community Tuesdays and Read Across America. He has also served as a guest speaker or attendee for Washington Irving School 14 – Indianapolis Public School ”All Honors Dinner,” School on Wheels’ “Education Celebration” and the White House 2014 Easter Egg Roll.
The award is named after the late Ed Block, head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts from 1954 to 1977. He served as trainer emeritus with the club until his death in 1983.
Proceeds from the 37th annual Ed Block Courage Award dinner benefit the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation in Baltimore. The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation’s objective is to establish homes for abused children in each NFL city. Indianapolis established an Ed Block Courage home (Children’s Bureau) in October of 2000. The home is part of a national support network for abused children.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.