Jaguars eighth-year defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks has been named the team's 2016 Ed Block Courage Award Winner, as voted on by his teammates. The Ed Block Courage Award is an annual award presented to players in the NFL, who are voted by their teammates as role models of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.
Over the past 24 months, Marks has seen the highs and lows of playing in the National Football League. Marks entered the final game of the 2014 season on Dec. 28 at Houston with a team- and career-high 8.5 sacks on the season. With 6:39 remaining in the game and on the season, Marks sustained a knee injury, which would eventually be diagnosed as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Following the 2014 season, Marks was selected as an alternate to the Pro Bowl, but withdrew his name after undergoing knee surgery on January 14, 2015 by Jaguars Head Team Physician Kevin Kaplan. Marks was also recognized by his peers in NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of the 2015," coming in at No. 76, marking the first time the Jaguars had a defensive player appear on the list.
"When I went down, I was just thinking about what this injury could be and what could this mean," said Marks. "That was all that was going through my head. As soon as it happened, I couldn't walk on it, I couldn't stand on it. I didn't really think about all the accolades and the season-high and career-high. I didn't think about all that. I was just thinking about what this could mean for me, personally, and for me moving forward as an athlete."
Marks immediately began the rehabilitation process. He would undergo nine months of grueling training and brought his all each and every day of the process.
"Sen'Derrick approached his rehab with the same unwavering spirit that he approaches any component of his life," said Jaguars Head Athletic Trainer Scott Trulock. "Never one to feel sorry for himself, Sen'Derrick set his sights on the work ahead and just wanted to know from Dr. Kaplan, 'How soon can we get started?' Each day, he came in for rehab with a great attitude, ready to work towards his short term and long term goals. Ultimately, Sen'Derrick was able to work himself back on the field in about nine months."
Marks made his 2015 debut on October 18 at home at EverBank Field against the Houston Texans and registered one tackle in 29 snaps at defensive tackle.
After appearing in four games last season, it was announced on Nov. 16 that Marks had sustained a torn triceps tendon in the third quarter of the Jaguars' win at Baltimore. Two days later, Marks once again underwent surgery with Dr. Kevin Kaplan at the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute.
"At first, I thought, 'God, how can this happen again,' but I am such a joyful and happy person that I knew whatever comes my way, I'll be able to deal with it with the help of my friends and my family," said Marks. "During the rehab process, I knew it was my job as a professional to get back better and stronger than before and be the best athlete I could be. I had a great time with the training staff and rehabbing with [defensive tackle] Roy [Miller]. Having him around made it easier because we kept each other motivated and were able to truly develop a brotherhood."
Marks has appeared in all 11 games this season and started at defensive tackle in Week 12 at Buffalo.
"Sen'Derrick is a warrior on the field, an incredible person off of it and a true leader to us all because he is just a stand-up guy," said teammate Roy Miller, who nominated Marks for the award. "After fighting his way back from knee surgery, his season ended with a triceps injury, which was unfortunate. Having been hurt the past two seasons after being named one of NFL Network's 'Top 100 Players,' Sen'Derrick had to fight criticism, self-doubt and his grueling rehab. Being in the training room with Sen'Derrick, you could never tell that he was going through tough times. His positivity and optimism comes from his love for this organization and this team and he fought hard to be back on the field this season and back to playing at an extremely high level. He is a perfect recipient for this award because he's a man of courage and character and never cracks, despite having ups and downs during his NFL career. Sen'Derrick deserves this award and I'm glad he is receiving this recognition for all of his hard work and determination."
The Ed Block Courage Award is named in honor of Ed Block, the former trainer for the Baltimore Colts (1954-1977), who raised awareness for the prevention of child abuse and helped establish "Courage Houses," a national network of houses that help abused children in NFL cities around the country.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation announced that Neighbor To Family has been chosen to be the Jaguars/Ed Block Courage House award recipient. Neighbor To Family, headquartered in Daytona Beach, FL, with offices in Jacksonville, specializes in keeping sibling groups together. The award was presented at a special luncheon on Oct. 13 at Daytona International Speedway. For more information on the Ed Block Courage Award, please visit http://www.jaguars.com/edblock/.