Houston Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry, who overcame a three-year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosed in 2014 to return to the field in 2017, has been selected as the 2017 George Halas Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Quessenberry, the 49th Halas Award winner, is the first member of the Texans franchise to receive the honor from the PFWA.
Other 2017 nominees for the Halas Award were New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta and Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake.
The Halas Award is given to a NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. The award is named for Halas, a charter member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter. Halas won 324 games and six NFL titles in 40 seasons as a coach.
The Halas Award is one of the two-oldest awards presented by the PFWA, along with the Dick McCann Award, presented to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage.
Quessenberry was selected in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of San Jose State by the Texans, and he missed the entire 2013 season with a foot injury. In June 2014, Quessenberry experienced fatigue and a persistent cough during workouts, and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He spent the 2014-16 seasons on the Texans’ non-football illness list while battling the disease. After completing chemotherapy treatment in April 2017, Quessenberry returned to the field for the Texans’ OTA sessions on May 22.
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Jim Trotter, who is a NFL reporter for ESPN, is the organization’s president for the 2017-18 seasons, while Bleacher Report national columnist Dan Pompei is the PFWA’s first vice-president and Newsday’s Bob Glauber is the organization’s second vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.
NOTE: After extensive research, the Halas Award history has been corrected from 1969-75. What follows is the corrected list of winners. The Halas Award is given for the previous season.
GEORGE HALAS AWARD WINNERS (To the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed) Year indicates when award was presented for previous season: 1969 – Joe Namath (New York Jets); 1970 – Gale Sayers (Chicago Bears); 1971 – Tom Dempsey (New Orleans Saints); 1972 – Jimmy Johnson (San Francisco 49ers); 1973 – Mike Tilleman (Atlanta Falcons); 1974 – Dick Butkus (Chicago Bears); 1975 – Rocky Bleier (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1976 – Billy Kilmer (Washington Redskins); 1977 – Tom DeLeone (Cleveland Browns); 1978 – Pat Fischer (Washington Redskins); 1979 – Bert Jones (Baltimore Colts); 1980 – Roger Staubach (Dallas Cowboys); 1981 – Rolf Benirschke (San Diego Chargers); 1982 – Joe Klecko (New York Jets); 1983 – Eddie Lee Ivery (Green Bay Packers); 1984 – Ted Hendricks (Los Angeles Raiders); 1985 – John Stallworth (Pittsburgh Steelers); 1986 – Gary Jeter (Los Angeles Rams); 1987 – William Andrews (Atlanta Falcons); 1988 – Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers); 1989 – Karl Nelson (New York Giants); 1990 – Tim Krumrie (Cincinnati Bengals); 1991 – Dan Hampton (Chicago Bears); 1992 – Mike Utley (Detroit Lions); 1993 – Mark Bavaro (Cleveland Browns); 1994 – Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers); 1995 – Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins); 1996 – Larry Brown (Oakland Raiders); 1997 – Jim Harbaugh (Indianapolis Colts); 1998 – Mark Schlereth (Denver Broncos); 1999 – Dan Reeves (Atlanta Falcons); 2000 – Bryant Young (San Francisco 49ers); 2001 – Kerry Collins (New York Giants); 2002 – Garrison Hearst (San Francisco 49ers); 2003 – Robert Edwards (Miami Dolphins); 2004 – Sam Mills (Carolina Panthers); 2005 – Mark Fields (Carolina Panthers); 2006 – Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts); 2007 – Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints); 2008 – Kevin Everett (Buffalo Bills); 2009 – Matt Bryant (Tampa Bay Buccaneers); 2010 – Mike Zimmer (Cincinnati Bengals); 2011 – Mike Heimerdinger (Tennessee Titans); 2012 – Robert Kraft (New England Patriots); 2013 – Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts); 2014 – O.J. Brigance (Baltimore Ravens); 2015 – Steve Gleason (New Orleans Saints); 2016 – Eric Berry (Kansas City Chiefs); 2017 – David Quessenberry (Houston Texans).