Team Player awards were given by the Monday Quarterback Club at their annual Player Awards luncheon held at the Millenium Hotel in Cheektowaga on Monday.
The "Steve Tasker Special Teams" award (George Wilson), "Special Teams Kick Coverage" award (Jon Corto), "Eddie Abramoski Unsung Hero" award (Fred Jackson), "Rookie of the Year" award (Leodis McKelvin) and "Man of the Year" award (Brian Moorman) were handed out along with a caricature drawing of their likeness from John Riordan.
"The Monday Quarterback Club is very proud to honor these players who have gained the respect of their fellow teammates and the community both on and off the field," said Gordon Ballard, MQC president.
Though disappointed in the season, the players thanked the fans for their tremendous support and humbly represented themselves, their team and Buffalo. They also provided the attendees with some encouraging thoughts for next season and some good-natured humor.
Wilson noted how he loves to play in Buffalo and that he is a blue collar player in a blue collar town who comes to work and works hard every day. He noted how important special teams are, how important the Bills fans are to the players, and believed strongly in the team's future, "Even though we may have had some shortcomings this year, the best is yet to come."
Corto was modest in stating how fortunate he was to play for his hometown team in Buffalo. The Orchard Park native said, "Thank you for allowing me to play the game I love."
After carrying the ball 27 times for 136 yards in a fierce driving wind on Sunday, Jackson leisurely walked to the microphone to accept his award and he mused, "You will have to excuse me. I'm a little slow today."
Leodis McKelvin said, "I love playing for the fans in Western New York and I try to make something happen every time I get to return a kick. I try to entertain you." He received a good laugh from the crowd when he said, "All these guys (Wilson, Corto and Jackson) and my teammates, besides Moorman the punter, help me look good and make plays."
Finally, after receiving his second award of the day (first award was the Bills/NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year), Moorman thanked his coaches and all his teammates back at One Bills Drive. He quipped, "It's guys like George, Jon, Fred and my teammates and well, Leodis, he returns kicks so he really doesn't help me look good!" Moorman looked over at McKelvin and along with everyone else, they both laughed.
The MQC's annual event is their last one of the 2008 season and they also honored the accomplishments of the local high school football state championship teams.
Sweet Home High School football coach John Faller was present and honored for winning Bills High School Co-Coach of the Year along with Maple Grove's Curt Fischer. In addition, the Class A state championship teams from Buffalo's Section VI were recognized for their tremendous accomplishments; Sweet Home (Class A), Maple Grove (Class D), Southwestern (Class C) and Orchard Park (Class AA).
The Monday Quarterback Club is the business group that backs the Bills. For more information, please visit their website at www.mondayqbc.com.