Atlanta Falcons tight end earns NFLPA’s highest honor for his outreach efforts


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Brandon Parker, Senior Communications Manager




TAMPA– The NFL Players Association announced Hayden Hurst as the recipient of the 2021 Alan Page Community Award at its annual Super Bowl press conference on Thursday. In recognition, the NFLPA will donate $100,000 to The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation.

“It is truly an honor to receive the 2021 Alan Page Community Award,” Hurst said. “I cannot begin to explain how much this means to me, my family, and to all the people that we will now be able to help through the use of these funds.”

As the NFLPA’s highest honor, the Alan Page Community Award annually recognizes one player who demonstrates a profound dedication to positively impacting his team’s city and communities across the country, following in the spirit of the Pro Football Hall of Famer and social pioneer for whom the honor is named.

This winter, in a video and article posted on the Atlanta Falcons website, Hurst opened up about his struggle with depression, the misuse of substances and his attempted suicide in 2016. In the weeks since, he has received a flood of support, generating more than $150,000 in donations to The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation, which raises awareness of mental health issues in children and adolescents by funding mental health services and programs.

During this week's NFLPA #AthleteAnd Players Summit, Hurst shared that, in the days following the release of the video, he received a message from a man who happened to see it and explained that Hurst’s story is what stopped him from taking his own life. This is just one of the many examples of how Hurst has directly impacted the hundreds of individuals who have reached out to his foundation.

In the time since Hurst was named this season's Week 13 NFLPA Community MVP, he has connected with more than 700 individuals, making a personal connection while pointing them toward resources and experts who can provide the help they needed. While this is not the first time that Hurst has shared his inspiring testimony, the courage shown in this instance helped empower those experiencing similar struggles that “it’s okay not to be okay,” which is why he continues to share his story to help make a difference in the lives of others.

The funding raised in the past two months allowed his foundation to support the mental health of nearly 270 teachers, 5,500 students and 8,185 parents through a program called In Focus, which implements social and emotional training programs into local K-8 schools in Atlanta, Maryland and South Carolina. The other funds will go toward providing assistance to two low-income schools in Florida.

“God works in mysterious ways and I believe my second chance was given to me so I could share my story and help save lives,” Hurst said.

Hurst was chosen as this year’s Alan Page Community Award winner from among five finalists following an electronic ballot vote that was open to all of his NFL peers from across the league. The finalists – Hurst, Geno Atkins (Cincinnati Bengals), Kevin Byard (Tennessee Titans), Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) and Harrison Phillips (Buffalo Bills) -- were selected by an external committee of judges across labor, media, sport and charity from among the 18 Community MVPs awarded during the 2020 regular season.

For more information on the Alan Page Community Award, please visit NFLPA.com/community-mvp.

Previous Alan Page Community Award Winners*:

2020 Brandon Copeland, New York Jets

2019 Andrew Whitworth, Los Angeles Rams

2018 Chris Long, Philadelphia Eagles

2017 Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles

2016 Thomas Davis, Carolina Panthers

2015 Chad Greenway, Minnesota Vikings

2014 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers

2013 Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers

2012 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

2011 Tony Richardson, New York Jets

2010 Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders

2009 Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia Eagles

2008 Warrick Dunn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Atlanta Falcons

2007 John Lynch, Denver Broncos

2006 Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans

2005 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

2004 Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2003 Troy Vincent, Philadelphia Eagles

2002 Mark Brunell, Jacksonville Jaguars

2001 Michael McCrary, Baltimore Ravens

2000 Doug Pelfrey, Cincinnati Bengals

1999 Cris Carter, Minnesota Vikings

1998 Hardy Nickerson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1997 Chris Zorich, Chicago Bears

1996 Bill Brooks, Buffalo Bills

1995 Derrick Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs

1994 Mark Kelso, Buffalo Bills

1993 Nick Lowery, Kansas City Chiefs

1992 Reggie White, Green Bay Packers

1991 Mike Kenn, Atlanta Falcons

1990 Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland Browns

1989 Mike Singletary, Chicago Bears

1988 Deron Cherry, Kansas City Chiefs

1987 George Martin, New York Giants

1986 Nat Moore, Miami Dolphins

1985 Reggie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals

1984 Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Chargers

1983 Doug Dieken, Cleveland Browns

1982 Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

1981 Ken Houston, Washington Redskins

1980 Gene Upshaw, Los Angeles Raiders

1979 Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

1978 Archie Manning, New Orleans Saints

1977 Lyle Alzado, Denver Broncos

1976 Jim Hart, St. Louis Cardinals

1975 Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steelers

1974 Floyd Little, Denver Broncos

1973 Andy Russell, Pittsburgh Steelers

1972 Ray May, Baltimore Colts

1971 Kermit Alexander, Los Angeles Rams

1970 Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears

1969 Ed Meador, Los Angeles Rams

1968 Willie Davis, Green Bay Packers

1967 Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers

*Team listed indicate which team player was on at the time he was awarded


About the NFL Players Association:

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2020 NFL season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.