By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Every year, a NFL player from each team is recognized for their sportsmanship. Named for the former Baltimore Colt, the Ed Block Courage Award is a true honor.

Jessica Kartalija  has more on who is being awarded from the Ravens.

This year, the honor goes to linebacker Jameel McClain. He’s a superstar on the field. Now, he’s being recognized for the work he does off the field.

Raised in North Philadelphia, McClain was homeless for most of his childhood.  His family stayed in a Salvation Army shelter.

“That’s why my events are so important to me because they’re real.  They’re me,” McClain said.

Since arriving in Baltimore in 2009, McClain has built a strong relationship with the Salvation Army.  Each Thanksgiving he sponsors a special Thanksgiving dinner.

“When I see the kids, I stop and talk and I let them know I’ve been through all of this and the thing that pushed me through was knowing there was an opportunity to get out of it, so you have got to share that with people,” McClain said.

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation works to improve the lives of abused and neglected children.

Each year, NFL players are selected by their teammates to receive the award.

WJZ-FM 105.7 The Fan’s Scott Garceau emcees the event each year.

McClain, who was there for the announcement, is also recognized for returning to the field after a spinal cord injury had doctors saying he would never play for the NFL again.

Still he says his focus is about his work off the field.

“I stand for the children, improving the lives of the children we stand for, our next generation,” McClain said.

Block is remembered for being one of the most educated athletic trainers of his time, and especially for his work improving the lives of children.

The gala will take place March 17.

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