Brandon King had quite the comeback in 2021.
The New England Patriots special teamer suffered a torn quad during the preseason that kept him out for the entirety of the 2019 season. Unfortunately, his luck didn't quite turn around in 2020, having been placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp.
When he finally returned to game action for the first time since Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams, you hardly would have known he sat out for two consecutive seasons. For that, King was named the Patriots' recipient of the 2021 Ed Block Courage Award.
The award, named after longtime Baltimore Colts athletic trainer and humanitarian Ed Block, is awarded annually to players across all 32 NFL teams who overcome devastating injuries on the field or tragedy off it.
For an undrafted free agent who has managed to stay with the team since 2015, two years of grueling rehab led to 2021, where King missed all but one game for New England. He trailed only Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel and Cody Davis in special teams snaps, and only Davis (15) and Slater (11) had an edge on King in total special teams tackles (10).
While speaking at the 44th Annual Ed Block Courage Award Virtual Gala, King shared how he hopes to inspire others with his journey back.
"I'd love for people to look at me as a person, not what I can do for someone," King said. "And in the community, I love to be someone that can relate to them. You know what I mean? Someone that can understand, because for me, sometimes you didn't know where your next meal was coming from. Sometimes the power wasn't on, you know? Different things happen. So I'm the type of person where I don't want people to look at me for what I've done. I just want people to look at me for my character."
All that adversity in his life certainly prepared him for his return.