Eagles safety Rodney McLeod wins NFLPA Alan Page community award
McLeod was honored by the NFL Players Association for his philanthropic community work in the Philadelphia area.
Rodney McLeod was honored by the NFL Players Association on Wednesday for his philanthropic community work in the Philadelphia area.
The 31-year-old was announced as this year’s winner of the NFLPA’s Alan Page community award during a Super Bowl news conference in Los Angeles for his charitable endeavors in 2021.
The award was created in 1967 and “annually recognizes one player who demonstrates a profound dedication to positively impacting his team’s city and communities across the country,” according to the NFLPA website.
“I am humbled to receive such a prestigious award,” McLeod said in a press release. “This award is truly all about the community; and when I hear the word ‘community,’ unity, hope and love also come to mind.”
McLeod and his wife, Erika, co-founded a charitable organization called “Change Our Future” in 2020 with the goal to “empower people through education, advocacy, and awareness in the areas of youth development, healthy lifestyles, and community enrichment.”
In December, the foundation held a fundraising gala that led to a $205,000 donation to update Black history and STEM curriculums in local schools. The event was also a toy drive, which collected toys to donate to families just before the holidays.
“It’s a way for everybody to come together and support our young people in a time where they need us the most,” McLeod told the Inquirer before the event. “It’s our time as adults to wrap our arms around them and show them what it means to put kids first and that’s what we stand for at Change Our Future.”
A few months before the gala, McLeod also “adopted” two local high schools, Constitution High and Hill-Freedman World Academy, by donating $20,000 to the schools and holding a “listening session” with students to find ways to improve their education.
McLeod, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, has been one of the team’s most prominent leaders in the last few years both on and off the field. He has been a defensive captain in each of the last two seasons and has also been an active and outspoken member of the team’s social justice leadership council.
The Eagles launched a new anti-gun-violence initiative last season, something McLeod was instrumental in.
“Since I’ve arrived here it’s just felt like family — from the locker room to the city,” McLeod told The Inquirer. “This city is full of blue-collar workers, and that resonated with me. But being here this long, I’ve been able to take a deep dive in this community, specifically with the kids and the youth. One thing that has been evident is the gun violence and how it’s affected so many people, so many young lives. ... It’s something we want to clean up and change.”
Former Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, now with the Cardinals, was among the five finalists for the award along with 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead, Buccaneers defensive lineman Will Gholston, and Bills receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
McLeod is the third Eagles player to win the award in the last six years. Chris Long won the award in 2018 and Malcolm Jenkins was the recipient the year before.