Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell has been selected by his teammates as the Jaguars' 1998 Ed Block Courage Award recipient. Brunell, 28, has started the last 22 regular-season games since missing the first two games of the 1997 season because of a knee injury.
Brunell suffered the knee injury in the second preseason game on August 9 against the New York Giants, with a torn medial collateral ligament, a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament and a stretched anterior cruciate ligament. He was out for only five weeks.
In coming back from the injury, Brunell led the Jaguars to a 30-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Monday Night football" in his first start, as he passed for 306 yards. For the season, Brunell led the AFC in passing, with 3,281 yards and 18 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. Brunell has quarterbacked the Jaguars to the playoffs each of the last two seasons, making them the only expansion team in NFL history to do so twice in its first three seasons. In four seasons with the Jaguars, Brunell has completed 962 of 1,565 (61.5 percent) passes for 11,602 yards, 66 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. He has also rushed for 1,286 yards and 9 TDs. Brunell has been named to the Pro Bowl each of the last two years.
Each year the Ed Block Courage Awards honor those players who overcomes adversity on the field, possess strong character and a will to endure life's trials, and who continuously strive for excellence on and off the field. Ed Block Courage Award recipients are selected by vote of their teammates. The Jaguars awarded the honor to defensive end Paul Frase in 1995, tight end Derek Brown in 1996 and cornerback Dave Thomas last year.
The Jaguars' other nominees this year were cornerback Deon Figures, defensive tackles John Jurkovic, Kelvin Pritchett and Seth Payne, and linebacker Tom McManus.
All 30 of this year's Ed Block Courage Award recipients - one from each team - will be honored at a banquet in Baltimore in March. Proceeds from the event benefit abused children of The Courage House National Support Network.