Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick has won the George Halas Award presented by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Frederick, who retired in March, was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019 after missing the entire 2018 season with Guillain-Barré syndrome. He’s the 52nd Halas Award winner, the second member of the Cowboys to receive the honor, joining Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach (1980).
The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed. The award is named for a charter member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who had a role with the formation of the NFL and owned the Chicago Bears until his death in 1983.
In his retirement announcement, Frederick wrote:
“I started a journey almost two years ago that completely blindsided me. When I developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, I did not know how to handle things. I was scared. That experience forced me to re-evaluate my life priorities. I spent much of that year thinking about both the past and future. I realized how fortunate I was to play a game for a living. I realized how fortunate I was to make friends and become teammates with some great men.
“Most of all, I realized the importance of my family and how much I want to be there for their peaks and valleys as they were for me. … I was ready for the next stage of my life; however, the competitor in me would not accept going out without returning to the field.
“I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me. Each day, I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”
Frederick was a first-round pick in the 2013 draft, and became the first Cowboys rookie to start every game at center. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, in 2018.
Other 2020 nominees for the Halas Award were Ravens tight end coach Bobby Engram, Vikings defensive lineman Everson Griffen, Chargers tackle Russell Okung and Raiders tight end Darren Waller.