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Travis Fredrick named George Halas Courage Award winner by PFWA

Former Dallas Cowboys’ center Travis Frederick might have recently left the game behind but he’s still remembered fondly after earning the George Halas Courage Award
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, NFC center Travis Frederick, of the Dallas Cowboys, is shown during a practice for the NFL Pro Bowl football game in Kissimmee, Fla. Travis Frederick has won the George Halas Award presented by the Pro Football Writers of America. Frederick, who retired in March, was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019 after missing the entire 2018 season with Guillain-Barré syndrome. The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

DALLAS — Former Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick was named the Pro Football Writers of America's 2020 George Halas Award winner, the organization announced Monday.

The award, which has been given out annually since 1969, goes to the NFL player, coach, or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.

Frederick overcame Guillain–Barré syndrome, which wiped out his 2018 season, and returned to Pro Bowl form in 2019, starting all 16 games for the Cowboys.

However, the former 2016 All-Pro felt he was not playing at his highest level and the 2019 campaign was a difficult campaign for the former 2013 first-round pick from Wisconsin.

“I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me," Frederick wrote in a tweet on March 23. "Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”

Other Halas Award nominees included Baltimore Ravens tight ends coach Bobby Engram, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, Los Angeles Chargers tackle Russell Okung, and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller.

Frederick is the third Cowboys player to win the award. The first was Roger Staubach in 1980. Cornerback Larry Brown won the award in 1996 for his efforts playing for Dallas in 1995.

The five-time Pro Bowler Frederick was also the Cowboys' nominee for the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

"He's everything you want in a football player," Cowboys COO Stephen Jones told 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] on Dec. 16, 2019. "He's a great football player on the field. He's great with the other guys in the room. He's a leader in the room. Last year, when he caught hurt, when he had the virus there, he never missed a day of work. He was always out there leading the team, even though he knew he wasn't going to play. And then the off the field stuff is just off the charts and certainly he's getting recognized for that now. It's well deserved and I would certainly think he would get every consideration to win that award."

Dallas owner Jerry Jones referred to Frederick as an "inspiration" after he was voted to his fifth Pro Bowl in 2019, his comeback season.

"He's an inspiration," Dallas owner Jerry Jones said on Dec. 22. "He's the quarterback there which is critical... He's so intelligent the way he plays this game."

In Frederick's retirement, the former center has gone to work helping provide meals for under privileged children in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his Blocking Hunger foundation, which he says is bolstered by the generosity of North Texas residents.

"These kids didn't get a chance to eat normally and this is one of their first meals, and I knew at that point I needed to help those kids," Frederick said on Oct. 7, 2019. "So, that's how the Blocking Hunger foundation was created."

What will you remember most about Travis Frederick’s time with the Cowboys? Share your memories with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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