Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, 31, has been named the team's 2001 Man of the Year for his exemplary community involvement, and will represent the Jaguars as one of 31 team nominees for the 2001 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year Award, the only league-sponsored award honoring players for the outstanding balance they achieve between professional and civic responsibilities. Brunell was also the team's nominee during the 1999 season.
Established in 1970, this prestigious NFL award was created to recognize the commitment of NFL players to public service. Each year, NFL clubs nominate three players for the award and a local review panel names a club winner, who receives a $1,000 charity donation and becomes eligible for the national award and an additional $25,000 grant. Later this month an NFL panel will select the national winner who will be named during Super Bowl week in New Orleans. Last year, the league named Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks and Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Jim Flanigan as co-winners of the award.
The Mark Brunell Foundation is committed to enriching the lives of children who face chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Among other Foundation programs he hosts a charity golf tournament that benefits Wolfson Children's Hospital. Since 1997 his Foundation has contributed more than $600,000 to the hospital, specifically for children receiving pediatric and neonatal intensive care.
In November, the Brunell Family Children's Neurodiagnostic Center was dedicated at Wolfson's. The Center is a five-room unit equipped with digital video-EEG technology that allows prolonged patient monitoring and offers a comprehensive array of neurological services. It is particularly useful in diagnosing Epilepsy in children.
In addition to managing ongoing Foundation programs Brunell supports Dreams Come True, a local non-profit organization that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, the Pediatric Care Unit of Jacksonville's Community Hospice, and serves as a spokesman for All-Pro Dad, a nationwide responsible fatherhood initiative.
Previous Jaguars honorees have included wide receiver Keenan McCardell (2000), Brunell (1999), defensive end Jeff Lageman (1998), offensive tackle Tony Boselli (1997), punter Bryan Barker (1996) and cornerback Vinnie Clark (1995).