(photo, stories and quotes courtesy of Buffalo Bills)
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Former James Madison All-American linebacker Arthur Moats has been honored with two major awards by the Buffalo Bills organization. After recovering from sports hernia surgery in the 2013 off season, Arthur Moats was named the Ed Block Courage Award, while also earning the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year honor. The Ed Block Courage Award is in recognition of his professionalism, great strength, dedication and for being a community role model for others, while the Payton Award recognizes his success on the field and exceptional work and leadership in the Western New York community off of it.
“It’s a huge honor and it comes with a lot of responsibility as well,” said Moats. “I’m humbled by it. I feel like I’m in a position where I can influence people and touch a lot of lives. My family and I understand the spot we’re in and want to help people out and let everyone know that we’re in Buffalo to be a part of the community.”
Each year, a league-wide Man of the Year winner is selected from 32 nominees from each NFL team. A panel of judges including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Connie Payton (widow of Walter Payton), the previous year's winner (Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten) and a number of former players selects the winner of the award. The Man of the Year winner receives a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice, and each of the other 31 finalists receives a $1,000 donation.
Moats was drafted as the 178th player by the Bills in the 2010 draft after having won the 2009 Buck Buchanan award as the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. In addition to receiving the Buck Buchanan Award, Moats during the 2009 season was the defensive player of the year in the Colonial Athletic Association and among players from Virginia's 10 Division I college programs by the state's sports information directors.
Moats was named to All-America first teams by Associated Press, The Sports Network, the American Football Coaches Association and the Walter Camp Foundation. He also was first-team All-CAA, All-Eastern College Athletic Conference and All-Virginia by the state's SIDs and the Roanoke Times.
During the 2009 season, Moats led 6-5 JMU with 90 tackles, including 42 unassisted, a team-record and national-high 23.5 for loss and 11 quarterback sacks. He was the national FCS leader in tackles among defensive linemen. During his four-year JMU career (he wasn't redshirted), Moats took part in 218 tackles, including 108 unassisted, 48.5 for loss, and 29 sacks.