Brandon King is the New England Patriots’ 2021 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, the team announced on Tuesday. The award, named after the Baltimore Colts’ long-time athletic trainer, is given out annually to players who “best exemplif[y] the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.”
From a Patriots perspective, King is worthy of that recognition.
A former rookie free agent, who first joined the team in 2015, King became a core special teamer on two Super Bowl-winning teams. However, after the second of those championships he was hit hard by injuries.
King missed the entire 2019 campaign after tearing his quad during the Patriots’ third preseason game. His 2020 comeback bid did not go any better: New England placed him on the physically unable to perform list ahead of training camp, and a few days later changed his status from “active” to “reserve” — a change in status that meant that King would have to sit out at least the first six weeks of the regular season.
He never returned off the list to miss the remainder of the season. It actually took him until the summer of 2021 to finally get back onto the field. Once there, he rarely left.
After missing back-to-back years due to injury, the veteran went on to appear in 17 of a possible 18 games and register 10 kicking game tackles. Only three other players saw more special teams snaps over the course of the 2021 season than King.
Along with the other winners from around the NFL, he will be honored at an awards banquet on a yet to be announced date. Previous Patriots winners include James White and Devin McCourty (2020), Julian Edelman (2019), Nate Ebner (2018), Matthew Slater (2017), Nate Solder (2016), Jerod Mayo (2015), Rob Gronkowski (2014), Sebastian Vollmer (2013), Logan Mankins (2012), Marcus Cannon (2011), Wes Welker (2010) and Tom Brady (2009).