Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

NFL players, coaches and more nominated for Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

Junior wide receiver Garrett Brown scores on a strike from quarterback Kale Pearson as the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons met the U.S. Naval Academy at the Academy's Falcon Stadium Oct. 4, 2014. Air Force defeated Navy 30-21 in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)
November 13, 2023

​USAA and the National Football League (NFL) announced this year’s nominees for the annual Salute to Service Award, which recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff and alumni who honor and support the military and veteran communities.

Fans will have the chance to vote for their favorite nominee through November 30, USAA told American Military News in an email, and their votes will help determine the Salute to Service Award’s three finalists. Fans can cast one vote per day at

The award’s finalists will be revealed in January, and the winner will be recognized at an awards special called NFL Honors, which will air in February during the week of Super Bowl LVIII.

“Military servicemembers, veterans and their families are unique, and so are the ways in which the nominees for this season’s Salute to Service Award presented by USAA show appreciation for the military community,” Major General (Ret.) Bob Whittle, USAA Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, said in a statement. “As NFL fans cast their votes, we hope the examples set by each nominee will lead to increased action by fans to honor, support and connect with all those who serve.”

Last year’s winner was Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera, who will also serve on 2023’s award panel. Other members of the panel include Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate and three-time Super Bowl champion; Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran and former NFL head coach; Lenny Bandy, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and NFL Vice President of Security; and Major General (Ret.) Whittle.

“As the presenting sponsor of the Salute to Service Award, USAA, a leading provider of insurance, banking and other financial services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the recipient’s name to official aid societies representing all U.S. military branches,” USAA explained. “The NFL will match USAA’s contribution by donating an additional $25,000 to the awardee’s military or veteran charity of choice.”

Here are the nominees for the 2023 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA:

  • Dennis Gardeck, Linebacker, Arizona Cardinals​
  • Arthur Smith, Head Coach, Atlanta Falcons
  • Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders, Baltimore Ravens
  • Reid Ferguson, Long Snapper, Buffalo Bills
  • Hayden Hurst, Tight End, Carolina Panthers
  • Cody Whitehair, Offensive Guard, Chicago Bears
  • Clint Walker, Security Staff Member, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Joy Tapajcik, Player Personnel & Football Operations Process Manager, Cleveland Browns
  • Charlotte Jones, Executive Vice President & Chief Brand Officer, Dallas Cowboys
  • Randy Gradishar, Legend, Denver Broncos
  • Ronnie Cyrus, Hometown Hero Coordinator, Detroit Lions
  • Aaron Jones, Running Back, Green Bay Packers
  • Houston Texans Cheerleaders, Houston Texans
  • Pete Ward, Chief Operating Officer, Indianapolis Colts
  • Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • James Winchester, Long Snapper, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Morgan Fox, Defensive Lineman, Los Angeles Chargers
  • Cooper Kupp, Wide Reciever, Los Angeles Rams
  • Blake Ferguson, Long Snapper, Miami Dolphins
  • Bud Grant, Legend, Minnesota Vikings
  • Joe Cardona, Long Snapper, New England Patriots
  • Pete Werner, Linebacker, New Orleans Saints
  • Graham Gano, Kicker, New York Giants
  • Tony Richardson, Legend, New York Jets
  • Cristian Narino Garcia, Operations Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Levi Wallace, Cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • George Kittle, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
  • Jon Rhattigan, Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
  • Martin Gramatica, Legend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Peter Skoronski, Guard, Tennessee Titans
  • Chris Bailey, Washington Salute Military Program Lead, Washington Commanders