Falcons coach Dan Quinn wins Salute to Service Award
HOUSTON (AP) Falcons coach Dan Quinn already is a winner this week, two days before the Super Bowl.
The second-year head coach in Atlanta has been chosen the Salute to Service Award recipient by the NFL and USAA.
Quinn won for his commitment to supporting the military and their families and will be recognized at the ''NFL Honors'' TV program Saturday night during which The Associated Press will announce its NFL individual award winners.
''Coach Quinn truly embodies the spirit of our Salute to Service Award,'' said Vice Admiral (Retired) John Bird, USAA's senior vice president of military affairs. ''Though he has no direct ties to the military, he's made it his personal charge to show appreciation for their service and sacrifice.''
Last spring, Quinn hosted a ''Rookie Club Olympics'' for which he invited 100 military members from Fort Benning, Georgia to the Falcons' training facility to participate. He created the event as a way for NFL players and the military community to unite and work together as a team.
Quinn also stages a military day at training camp and hosts 20 military members at each Falcons home game throughout the season. He also provided an opportunity for families of fallen soldiers with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to attend the Falcons' Salute to Service game on Nov. 27. All 63 families attending were given a VIP visit at practice and were provided a one-night hotel stay in Atlanta courtesy of Quinn. Each player wore the initials of a fallen hero on his helmet during the game and during practice; the families were given a replica helmet of that player with a personalized note in honor of their hero.
Last offseason, Quinn led four Falcons players on a weeklong USO tour through the Pacific.
''The military represents team on the highest level,'' Quinn said last month when selected as a finalist for the award. ''It's an honor to be up for this award that recognizes the standard of excellence set by our nation's military and encourages our community to give back and support service members and their families who serve our nation.''
USAA, the official military appreciation sponsor of the NFL, is a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families. It will contribute $25,000 in Quinn's honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches.
Quinn is the second coach to receive the award. Baltimore's John Harbaugh was the 2013 winner.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL