ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was honored at halftime of Buffalo's season-opening game against Seattle on Sunday, just under a year since he had a life-threatening spinal cord injury.
Everett walked onto the field to receive the Professional Football Writers of America's George Halas Award, which is given to the person in the NFL who overcame the most adversity to succeed in the previous season.
"How you doing Buffalo?" Everett said to the sold-out crowd. "I can't thank you enough for all the support you gave me. To receive this award is amazing."
Everett spoke to the crowd just 25 yards from where his football career ended after he was initially paralyzed from the neck down attempting to make a tackle while covering a kickoff in the Bills' 2007 season opener against Denver.
"It brought tears to my eyes, especially at the beginning of the game while I was looking at that spot," Everett said. "I was tearing up. But I've been blessed. The injury was bad but there have been some great things that have come from it. We've been able to help a lot of people."
It was originally feared that Everett would never walk again, but after gradually showing signs of improvement he began walking last November.
This was Everett's second visit to a Bills game. He attended last season's home finale against the New York Giants in December, walking into the locker room to greet his former teammates.
Later this month, Everett will be honored by The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at its annual Great Sports Legends Dinner in New York. Everett will receive the Inspiration Award handed out by the University of Miami-based spinal cord injury research center.
The Miami Project played a role in Everett's recovery by consulting with Bills team physicians shortly after he was injured.
The Bills also paid respects to the late Tim Russert with a video tribute before the game against the Seahawks. The Buffalo native and staunch Bills fan died of a heart attack in June.