The only way to receive the award is to first go through an unwanted, hellish season. That’s what Kory Lichtensteiger did last season, tearing both the ACL and MCL in his right knee early in the season. Tearing two ligaments makes the road tough; having more surgery in late July makes it even tougher.
Yet, after missing the entire preseason, Lichtensteiger hasn’t missed a snap this season.
That’s why his teammates voted him as their recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. He’ll be among 32 players honored at a dinner in Baltimore in March.
“It’s very cool,” said Lichtensteiger, who hurt his knee on Oct. 25, 2011. “To get that vote of confidence from [teammates], to see that they understand how many hardships I’ve had to go through rehabbing the knee, I think it’s very cool.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said repeatedly last year that Lichtensteiger was their best run blocker. But even they weren’t sure how he’d respond in 2012. And, yes, they drafted a potential replacement in guard/center Josh LeRibeus in the third round.
But Shanahan has been impressed with Lichtensteiger’s season.
“He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. He’s played at a very high level. He’s very competitive,” Shanahan said. “He’s a perfectionist even though perfection doesn’t always occur in the National Football League, especially in the offensive line. He’s given all his effort that he can possibly do to make sure that he plays at a very high level. That’s what you have to have on the offensive line – five guys like that, all on the same page.”
Lichtensteiger said the knee still bothers him, though he said it hurts worse during the week than a game.
“After games it’s pretty rough,” Lichtensteiger said.
But, he said, not having to pound during practices helps.
“Mike takes care of his players,” Lichtensteiger said. “You’re not in there pounding on each other throughout the week. Usually by game day it’s feeling OK…There’s always a few magic remedies the medical staff can come up with.”