Philadelphia Eagles Defensive end Joe Ostman was named the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner earlier this week.
Each year, players from all 32 teams are honored with the Ed Block Courage Award, which is awarded to a player “who exemplifies his commitment to the principles of fair play and courage.” The price is voted on by the players.
Ostman, 25, missed all of last season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He returned for training camp this season and competed for a berth in the roster, and although he eventually landed on the practice squad, Ostman made his NFL debut at the Cleveland Browns in of week 11.
“I had a lot of weak moments, definitely, throughout this process with the injury,” Ostman told the team site. “Everyone goes through certain things throughout their career. It’s really about how you react to it. It doesn’t matter how you feel, how are you going to come to work the next day, with what attitude are you going to enter the building. I always tried to control these things even though I felt depressed. I couldn’t let that show in my work or my attitude in the building. “
“I knew there was hope. I knew I could do it. It’s just a question of mentality and work ethic.
Ostman joined the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from central Michigan in 2018. He ended his college career with 26 sacks and 45.5 tackles for a loss. He spent the 2018 season on the practice squad, and he received praise at the end of the year for his work on the scout team preparing the team’s offensive linemen for the best passing throwers they have faced.
In 2019, he looked set to potentially compete for a place at the bottom of the list, but he tore his ACL apart during practice at Lincoln Financial Field in August. He spent the whole year in the casualty reserve.
Ostman returned in 2020 and competed for a spot on the list again. He’s been on the practice squad all season and raised to the active roster for the Browns game. He played 14 defensive and special teams games in his NFL debut.
Offensive tackle Jordan Mailata has long given Ostman credit for helping him prepare for training. Mailata got into left tackle this season and performed well, and he shouted Ostman, whom he calls “Smokin ‘Joe”, uninvited in the past.
“I think he deserves this award 100%,” Mailata said earlier this week. “Joe has worked so hard to get back to where he is now. And the reason we call him Smokin ‘Joe, there’s a reason behind it. Every game, no matter what it is, it could be a solution. It’s the funniest thing now. We have like a running joke. When Doug says it’s a walkthrough, we have to tell Joe it’s a walkthrough but it’s 20% for you, because his 20% is our 60%. It’s the kind of effort Joe brings in every day. So you know if you see Joe lining up against you, you can’t relax. You can’t and I love it. It is the competitive nature that we need and iron sharpens iron. That’s what we need to get better and Joe gives us that edge. And he totally deserves this award. I am very happy for him. He’s like a brother to me, so yes.
In his early days, Ostman found himself on the wrong side of a highlight when Browns running back Nick Chubb cocked him to the ground on the 54-yard run. But in the end, it was Ostman who got up and came down the field to make the tackle.
It’s the type of game that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his coaches and teammates this season. And Ostman’s Ed Block Courage Award represents that.
“Joe is one of the toughest players I’ve ever been around,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said in November.
Daniel Gallen covers the Philadelphia Eagles for PennLive. He can be contacted at [email protected]. You can follow it on Twitter and Facebook. Follow PennLive’s Philadelphia Eagles coverage on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.