2023 Courage Award Winner

Rashan Gary

2023 Ed Block Courage Award Winner

In 2022, halfway through a promising season in his fourth year with the Green Bay Packers, linebacker Rashan Gary suffered a torn ACL at Ford Field in a divisional matchup with Detroit in Week 9, effectively ending his season. He had started nine games, posting six sacks, seven tackles for a loss and 12 quarterback hits, all of which would rank in the top three in their respective categories on the team in 2022 despite him missing the final eight games. It was a devastating loss for the team both on and off the field, but Gary never lost faith that he could return to his superior form, attacking rehab with ferocity and determination. He was cleared to play in the 2023 season opener at Chicago, appearing in a limited fashion on defense, but he was just happy to be back on the field. “From where I started, being able to even be put in a situation like that, I’m nothing but thankful and blessed,” Gary said prior to the Bears game. “I’m absolutely excited for a pitch count. I don’t care for how many plays they want me on the field, they’re going to get five-two, 110%, for as many snaps as I can get.” In his first game at Lambeau since Oct. 16, 2022, Gary posted a career-high three sacks and four quarterback hits to help the team complete a come-from-behind 18-17 victory in front of the home crowd. He was presented with a game ball following his career performance, getting emotional when Head Coach Matt LaFleur handed him the ball. Gary continued his impressive comeback with his best game of the season in the same stadium and on the same field where he suffered his season-ending injury the season prior. At Ford Field against the Lions on Thanksgiving, Gary matched his career-high with seven tackles (five solo) and added three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. His first sack-forced fumble of QB Jared Goff was recovered by S Jonathan Owens and returned for a touchdown. The second came on fourth-and-7 early in the fourth quarter with Green Bay up by 15. Gary, emotional yet again after his career game, was presented his second game ball of the season and tried to express his emotions, “I really can’t get my words together, but the only thing I can say is I’m blessed and fortunate,” he said. “I want to give all thanks to my higher power, my family members that kept me locked in, kept me out of my head, especially going into this week. I said it’s a really emotional week. Being able to come back, first off, leave the game healthy as where I (started), that’s what I asked my Holy Father for, and he blessed me to leave the game healthy and he blessed me a little bit extra. It’s great to be back, great to get a win, and I’m happy to get this past me.” Gary’s presence is not only felt on the field, but off as well. He might have led Green Bay’s defense in sacks in 2023, but his energy and presence in the locker room truly inspired his teammates. Packer S Darnell Savage had high praise for Gary, “I think the biggest thing is just his intensity because he’s going to push the guys around him to play with his same intensity. It’s just good to have that energy and that excitement out there because you know what you’re going to get from him.” Gary played in all 17 regular-season games and both postseason contests this past season, finishing with 44 tackles (23 solo), nine sacks, seven tackles for a loss, 22 quarterback hits, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, all while acquiring a significant contract extension midseason. “I’m a big believer in people that approach it the right way, that are talented that come to work with mindset and determination that he possesses,” LaFleur said after Gary signed his contract extension. “He’s a tone-setter. So, I’m really happy for him, I’m happy for our organization.” Gary also plays an active role in the community, participating in events such as signing autographs to raise money for The Salvation Army and speaking with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay. He also supports the global charity “Made By Dyslexia,” including having his cleats designed for them as part of the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” initiative. 

Position DL
Height 6-5
Weight 277 lbs
College Michigan
NFL Experience 5 years

Past Winners

  • 2022 - De’Vondre Campbell
  • 2021 - Aaron Jones
  • 2020 - Billy Turner
  • 2019 - Mason Crosby
  • 2018 - Aaron Rodgers
  • 2017 - Mike Daniels
  • 2016 - Jayrone Elliott
  • 2015 - Sam Barrington
  • 2014 - Jordy Nelson
  • 2013 - Johnny Jolly
  • 2012 - Tramon Williams
  • 2011 - T.J. Lang
  • 2010 - Charles Woodson
  • 2009 - Nick Collins
  • 2008 - Mark Tauscher
  • 2007 - Chris Francies
  • 2006 - Jon Ryan
  • 2005 - Donald Driver
  • 2004 - Marco Rivera
  • 2003 - Gilbert Brown
  • 2002 - Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
  • 2001 - Santana Dotson
  • 2000 - Josh Bidwell
  • 1999 - Earl Dotson
  • 1998 - Craig Newsome
  • 1997 - Robert Brooks
  • 1996 - Brett Favre
  • 1995 - Reggie White
  • 1994 - George Teague
  • 1993 - Johnny Holland
  • 1992 - Tootie Robbins
  • 1991 - Vai Sikahema
  • 1990 - Perry Kemp
  • 1989 - Herman Fotenot
  • 1988 - Mark Murphy
  • 1987 - Keith Uecker
  • 1986 - Karl Swanke
  • 1985 - Ezra Johnson
  • 1984 - Ron Cassidy

Supporting the National Courage House Network

The Green Bay Packers are proud to support Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center, a member of the National Courage House Network.