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2017 Silver Anniversary Award: Troy Vincent

Former Wisconsin standout makes giving back a priority

Troy Vincent believes community service is a choice, and few others have committed themselves as strongly to the decision to help others. The former University of Wisconsin-Madison standout learned at a young age that it is better to give than to receive.

In addition to his role as the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, Vincent has served on the boards for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and RISE to Win, among others.

Vincent will receive an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in Nashville, Tennessee. The annual award recognizes six distinguished former student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of the end of their intercollegiate athletics eligibility.

"My grandparents, my mother and other civic leaders in the community were instrumental in inspiring my commitment to reach out to others," he said.

The five-time Pro Bowl participant played cornerback for Wisconsin before being selected by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft.

Beyond his on-the-field exploits in Miami, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Washington, Vincent is the only player in history to win the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the NFL Players Association Byron “Whizzer” White Award, the Sporting News No. 1 Good Guy honor and the NFL Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award.

He graduated in 2007 with a degree in liberal arts from Thomas Edison State College and earned executive education and advanced business degree certificates from Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Vincent served as the president of the NFL Players Association from 2004 to 2008 and, after his retirement, joined the NFL front office in 2010 as the head of NFL player engagement. He assumed his current role with the league in 2014.

Vincent’s drive to give back permeates his day job as well. One of his most meaningful accomplishments was helping establish the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program, which aims to improve players' financial literacy.

"Our goal is to assist in ensuring the long-term financial well-being of our players, and this begins in their rookie year," Vincent said. "Through the years, the program has afforded players the opportunity to evaluate business opportunities and build practical knowledge in owning, operating and developing businesses.”

For his work, Vincent has received many accolades, including being named to Forbes Magazine's 2016 list of Most Influential Minorities in Sports. He is quick to deflect credit, passing it on to the others in college and beyond who lent their support.

"There are so many worthy individuals who have invested in my life, who joined in this journey from my youth in Trenton (New Jersey) to the present, and who encouraged, inspired and motivated along the way."