Two Las Vegas Raiders Nominated for Prestigious Awards
The committee of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) has released the nominees for their off-the-field awards.
As the season ends each year, the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) vote for several off-field awards given to players, coaches, club officials and members of the media associated with the NFL.
Waller was nominated for the George Halas Award, which is given to an individual who has overcome the most adversity to succeed.
Waller's career started on the wrong foot, as after being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round (204th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft, he was facing fines and suspensions for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
After missing the 2017 season on the Reserve/Suspended List, he was signed to the practice squad in September of 2018. A day later, Waller had a change of heart and decided to join the Oakland Raiders practice squad.
His journey with drug addiction and rehab led him to get a new start on his career. By November of 2018, the Raiders had signed him for an active roster spot.
In 2019, Waller's coming out party with the Raiders included 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns, becoming one of the league's top tight ends.
His work and production have earned him some recognition across the league, as many felt he was snubbed for Comeback Player of The Year.
This year's George Halas award nominees also include Ravens tight end Coach Bobby Engram, retired Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, defensive linemen of the Minnesota Vikings Everson Griffen, and tackle Russell Okung of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Two previous Raiders won the George Halas Award, Ted Hendricks in 1984 and Larry Brown in 1996.
Rod Marinelli was nominated for PFWA's Paul "Dr.Z" Zimmerman Award, given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL.
Two recipients will have the honor to receive the award in 2020, landing a higher chance for coach Marinelli to receive the award.
Coach Marinelli is entering his 25th season as an NFL coach and his first as the defensive line coach for the Las Vegas Raiders, reuniting with head coach Jon Gruden.
Marinelli's tenure with Gruden in Tampa Bay capped off with a Super Bowl (XXXVII) win over the Oakland Raiders in 2003.
Before he arrived in Las Vegas, Marinelli worked with the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears as an assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, improving their defensive statistics every year.
The other nominees for this year's Dr. Z award includes Bill Arnsparger, Romeo Crennel, Dick Hoak, Bobb McKittrick, Floyd Peter, Buddy Ryan, and Bobby Turner.
The 2020 Off-Field Awards balloting is underway, and the award winners will be announced on June 22 after the PFWA votes.
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