Richie Incognito Named USAA Salute to Service Award Nominee

Richie Incognito

Dec 27, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive guard Richie Incognito (64) takes the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills’ offensive guard Richie Incognito has been named a nominee for the 2016 USAA Salute to Service Award.

Including the Buffalo Bills, each team in the NFL will select a player on their team to be nominated for the 2016 USAA Salute to Service Award. For their sixth annual handout, the Bills have chosen offensive guard, Richie Incognito, as their nominee.

The award is handed out each year by the NFL and USAA — the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the NFL — and was born to “acknowledge the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support U.S. service members, veterans and their families,” per the NFL website.

In my opinion, Buffalo couldn’t have chosen a better candidate than Incognito.

Growing up the son of an Army veteran, Incognito’s father — Richie Incognito, Sr. — taught him some of life’s most important values. Discipline, sacrifice and courage — among others — have helped shape Incognito not only into the football player he’s become, but also the genuine man you see take the field each week.

“My dad instilled the values in me that he had learned in the Army, and when I started playing sports that’s when I started realizing the lessons that he was teaching me that he had learned in the military, I could apply to sports,” said Incognito.

Incognito has gone above and beyond when it comes to sharing and commemorating his appreciation for everything the military does for their country. He shows a lot of love for his country, those fighting for it and the families of those fighting for it.

Last season, Incognito was chosen to his second career Pro Bowl after being named the second-best guard in the league and helping the Bills’ achieve 6.58 rushing yards per carry when the ball was taken in his direction — the left side. At the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, he joined several other NFL members on a trip to the Wheeler Army Airfield in Wahiawa, Hawaii to show their appreciation.

richie incognito

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive guard Richie Incognito (64) walks out of the locker room during pregame warmups against the Buffalo Bills at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

He even took time out of his day during a Bills’ practice to meet Major Patrick Miller, a national hero and native to Western New York. The appreciation never stops with Richie Incognito, proving that it’s genuine and coming straight from the heart.

Richie Incognito brings that love and appreciation to each home game, donating 20 tickets, food vouchers and customized shirts for military members and their families — each home game! Not to forget when Week 13 rolls around, which is Player Cause Week, Richie has committed to play in honor of the USA’s military and military families associated with Veterans One Stop Center.

He has already helped a plethora of military families enjoy a Bills’ game this year, one of them being SPC Blake Leddick — who was actually attending his first ever Bills’ game. Here’s what Leddick had to say about the experience:

“I have been serving in Active-duty Army for over eight years, and now in the National Guard. I am very proud and grateful to have Mr. Incognito donate these tickets for us to come and enjoy the game. I enjoy football, and I am most appreciative to see players wanting to help support the military.”

Buffalo Bills’ head coach, Rex Ryan, also has plenty of great things to say about Incognito:

“He’s got a great deal of admiration and respect for our military, and the people that are currently serving and people who have been in the military.”

The Buffalo Bills are lucky to call Richie Incognito their left guard and hopefully for many years to come. His excellent play on the field and even better appreciation off the field are what make Incognito one-of-a-kind.

As for the award, the finalists will be announced in January and the winner will be recognized on February 4th at the 6th Annual NFL Honors — the NFL’s award show that takes place the night before the Super Bowl.

Congratulations to Richie Incognito on the nomination. Let this be a reminder to everyone, whether you’re a Bills’ fan or not, to always show appreciation for those fighting for our country. Without them, we wouldn’t get to enjoy the awesome game of football every week.

You can take a look at the other team’s nominees here.

Go Bills!

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