Titans help score TD for National Football Foundation


The Honorees came from every public and private high school in Davidson County along with every high school from Rutherford, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson counties to celebrate their achievements at one the largest high school awards dinner held in Tennessee. Titans players Colin Allred and David Thornton were joined by Joe Davis in presenting the "Charles W. Hawkins & Joe C. Davis High School Scholar-Athletes" awards.  Following those presentations, the honorees received some inspirational remarks regarding perseverance from Thornton, the 2008 Titans Community Man of the Year.

The high school and collegiate athletes were not the only ones recognized for their achievements Tuesday night. The organization presented a new award this year, named for former NFL player Bonnie Sloan, who played for Nashville's Issac Litton High School in the late '60s.  Sloan, who is deaf,  played collegiately at Austin Peay State University before becoming the first deaf player to play in the NFL at defensive tackle as a member of  the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973.  Sloan was given the inaugural award bearing his name and this award will now be given annually to a professional athlete, coach or staff member who is from Middle Tennessee, attended a local college or played at the professional level in Middle Tennessee, who overcame obstacles to succeed in his athletic career.  This presentation included a video of Sloan's highlights as a NFL player as well as comments from his coaches and mentors. Sloan's family was in attendance along with tables full of his friends. The presentation concluded with a standing ovation and the presentation of the inaugural "Bonnie Sloan Courage Award."

With 121 chapters in 41 states and over 12,000 members nationwide, the NFF runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in America's young people.
After the presentation of the "Bonnie Sloan Courage Award," the NFL Retired Players Association "Inspiration Award" was announced. The award went to Michael Darnell Douglas of Hillwood High School. Douglas was a senior captain and is active with Big Brothers & Sisters and is a Junior Deacon at his church.

The "Jim Barrom Spirit Award" is given to a player who demonstrates the highest quality of sportsmanship. This award was presented to Christian Theodore Heyne of Hillsboro High School. Heyne is involved with Boy Scouts of America and recently earned the honor to be called an Eagle Scout. Heyne was "shocked and glad to receive the award." Heyne also commented that "football is about the team, not about yourself."

High School students were not the only ones recognized. The "University Scholar-Athlete Award" went to Sewanee: University of the South student John Tyler Brantley. Brantley played running back and linebacker for Sewanee for all four years. In addition to his impressive football career at the University of the South, Brantley is also involved in dedicating his time to those who are less fortunate.

All of the honorees left the ceremony with nothing short of a glow on their faces. The ballroom was filled with legends, old and new. "The night was very enjoyable, it was all about good food, good times, and great speakers" said honoree Heyne. In conclusion, this dinner was "well organized" and a "great success."

The Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame scored a touchdown with this event.

Visit www.nffnashville.com for more information on the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.

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