Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh has been named the NFL's 2014 Salute to Service Award winner.
The award was announced during the NFL Honors Award Show in New York City Saturday night, and Harbaugh attended the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. The Salute to Service Award, presented by the USAA, recognizes “exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support U.S. service members and veterans.”
During Harbaugh’s six seasons in Baltimore, he has been active in supporting the military through several initiatives.
“My good fortune is that I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with members of our military,” Harbaugh said. “From those stationed in the Middle East to others I have met in the States, there is a common theme with those I have met and some whom we’ve put in front of our team. These are great and smart men and women. And, they are sacrificing for all of us.
“They deserve our respect, support and, importantly, our thanks every day. We try to do that as often as we can. They inspire us. Members of the military are all about team. They have each other’s backs. They defend us. They protect us. I salute all of them.”
Wounded Warriors are often guests during practice and Harbaugh allows unique experiences for the troops when they visit the Under Armour Performance Center. Earlier this year, Harbaugh invited a member of the Army for a surprise homecoming by having the solider and his family visit practice. Lt. Russ Cote posed as a Ravens staffer during practice, and then surprised his wife and two sons in the team huddle once it was over.
Harbaugh also introduced Military Appreciation Day for an annual training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium and participated in the NFL’s United Service Organization’s tour of the Middle East in 2009.
The other finalist for the award was Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.