The Pro Football Writers of America presented former Bills tight end Kevin Everett with the George Halas Award before Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Everett became the 39th recipient of the award, given to the NFL player who overcame the most adversity to succeed last season, in light of Everett's rehabilitation from what was initially characterized as a life-threatening spinal injury suffered almost a year ago to the day in the Bills' 2007 season opener.
Days after doctors stated Everett was likely to have suffered permanent neurological impairment, Everett showed movement in his arms and legs and walked prior to the end of the football season.
Everett won the award among a strong group of candidates including the Washington Redskins (Sean Taylor death), Plaxico Burress (ankle injuries), and Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis (Achilles' tendon) and Giants quarterback Eli Manning (media scrutiny).
The Bills' training staff was honored as the NFL Athletic training Staff of the Year by its colleagues in part for its treatment of Everett's injury. Eleven days prior to the season opener, the Bills training staff ran through a 90-minute spinal injury drill to prepare for an injury like Everett's.
A combination of that training, aggressive treatment by doctors and Everett's own courage and strength allowed Everett to walk less than a month after his injury.
Everett set the crowd into a frenzy after walking to the 50 yard line and thanking the fans of Buffalo, who Everett said he was accepting the award on behalf of.
"It's always great to be back," Everett said. "I can't thank you guys enough for all the love."