INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Prior’s 13-year NFL career is decorated with 35 interceptions and a Super Bowl ring.
The days of roaming the backend of NFL defenses has passed but that doesn’t mean Prior has stopped giving back to the game he loves.
On Saturday, Prior received the Contribution to Amateur Football Award presented by the National Football Foundation.
“It’s a very important award that the National Football Foundation has presented (Prior),” Bob Birge, the President of the Indianapolis Chapter, said.
“It’s one of those that we don’t do every year, like we do with some of our other awards, because it’s got to be someone that has really gone above and beyond the requirements to be a youth football leader and ambassador. While there are certainly a lot of people who do a lot in youth football, Mike is one of those that brings together a lot of different facets. We kind of worked with USA Football on this in helping to identify Mike and recognize his efforts.”
Prior played for the Colts from 1987-1992 and his 27 interceptions rank fifth in Colts history.
He then moved on to Green Bay for an additional six seasons and was the Packers special teams captain in their Super Bowl XXXI victory.
After serving as the Athletic Director for St. Luke School from 1999-2004, Prior got back into the NFL.
He has been the Youth Football Commissioner for the Colts since 2005 and oversees 100 camps and 20,000 youth each year.
“He demonstrates time and again, he goes above and beyond what would be expected,” Birge said. “I’ve been involved with the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization). I’ve asked Mike on more than one occasion if he could come out before the start of the season and talk to our coaches and our kids and he’s never hesitated. He’s always quick to say yes.
“I know the demands are heavy on him. I think a lot of it has to do with his personality and his willingness to travel to all four corners to help get the message out. He seems to have to the kind of personality that combined with his experience, it makes him enjoyable to work with.”
Here’s an excerpt from the National Football Foundation on the qualities they are looking for when handing out the Contribution to Amateur Football Award:
This annual award is intended to provide national recognition to an individual whose efforts and activities in support of the Foundation and its goals have been local in nature. For this country is marked with remarkable individuals who work tirelessly out of pure love for the game and a desire to help children play it well. This award seeks to recognize some of these noteworthy contributors. This award winner may be a coach, trainer, league organizer, administrator, fundraiser, or commonly all of the above. This honoree represents and supports the Foundation's fundamental creed without flaw.
Selection Process: Various individuals associated with The National Football Foundation, such as former recipients, board members and corporate leaders, send nominations and suggestions to the Foundation.
Selection of the recipient is made by the Awards Committee and ratified by the Board of Directors.