CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden is one of three finalists for the NFL’s 12th annual Salute to Service Award, according to our news partner WCPO in Cincinnati.
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The award recognizes a player, coach, legend or staff member for their excellence in appreciation of the military and each team nominates someone. The finalists are voted on for the league’s overall recipient.
The other two finalists are San Francisco 49ers George Kittle and Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera.
The finalists were determined by a consensus of fan votes, an internal NFL committee and the USAA, WCPO said.
“All three of this year’s finalists for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA serve America’s military community in different but impactful ways, with each deserving recognition for their exemplary commitment to those who wear the uniform,” said John Bird, USAA senior vice president of military affairs.
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The Bengals chose Hurst in November saying he has been very vocal about mental health awareness and treatment community since sharing his own story of personal struggles in 2020, WCPO said.
He sent a video message to Marines, which introduced him to the emotional and psychological challenges faced by military members and has remained dedicated to veteran outreach since.
The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation has been dedicated to “helping youth, military and others in need regarding their health, education, and wellness by funding services and programs through donations and fundraising events, according to the foundation’s website.
Hurst also partnered with the Cincinnati-based Armed Forces Tickets Association (AFTA) to provide four tickets to active military members and their family to watch the Bengals in the team’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams at Paycor Stadium, WCPO reported.
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The winner for the Salute to Service Award will be announced during the week of Super Bowl LVII, and the recipient will be honored at the NFL Honors ceremony on February 9.
USAA will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient’s honor to the official aid societies representing each of the military’s branches, while the NFL will match that contribution to whichever military charity the recipient chooses.
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Cincinnati will play the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game for the second straight year Sunday night with a trip to the Super Bowl at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
News Center 7 will have coverage of the Bengals and Chiefs leading up to kickoff.
This includes the Orange Zone Sunday morning, January 29, at 11:30 a.m. with John Bedell and Larry Hansgen.
News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis will provide live coverage from Kansas City.
Kickoff between the Bengals and Chiefs will be at 6:30 p.m.
The winner advances to the Super Bowl to play either San Francisco or Philadelphia on February 12 in Glendale, Arizona in Super Bowl XLVII.
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