Dennis Gardeck named Salute to Service nominee for Arizona Cardinals

Nov 5, 2023, 11:00 AM

Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Arizona Cardinals takes the field during introductions before the NFL gam...

Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Arizona Cardinals takes the field during introductions before the NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)

The NFL announced linebacker Dennis Gardeck is the Arizona Cardinals’ nominee for the 2023 NFL Salute to Service Award.

The league unveiled the nominees Wednesday, with one coming from each team.

The Salute to Service Award was introduced in 2011 and is given to the person within an organization who shows “commitment to honoring and supporting military and veteran communities, as nominated by NFL clubs.”

“Military servicemembers, veterans and their families are unique, and so are the ways in which the nominees for this season’s Salute to Service Award presented by USAA show appreciation for the military community,” Major General (Ret.) Bob Whittle, USAA Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff said in a press release. “As NFL fans cast their votes, we hope the examples set by each nominee will lead to increased action by fans to honor, support and connect with all those who serve.”

USAA will contribute $25,000 to aid societies representing U.S. military branches in the winner’s name. The NFL will contribute an additional $25,000 to a military/veteran charity of the winner’s choice.

“Dennis honors the sacrifices made by active-duty military by giving his time to organizations shining a light on our valued men and women of the armed forces,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “Together with veterans and active-duty military personnel, Dennis supported several in-person activations in Arizona, creating buzz around the military community and NFL’s Salute to Service initiative. These memorable activations impacted thousands of veterans, and active-duty military.

“Dennis participates in several activations each year that connects Arizona’s military with the NFL community. Through Cardinals Charities, Dennis and his teammates improved the quality of life for children and adults, with purposeful physical training to improve their quality of life by participating in kids’ camps and football combines on bases around Arizona.”

Gardeck and his teammates also participate with homeless veterans through MANA House in Phoenix helping them receive new technology, beds, and other necessities needed to get reconnected with society.

He recently partnered with Helping Hands for Freedom, TAPS and Goldstar families to EMPOWER service members’ families that are impacted by the deployment of their loved ones. Gardeck also provided these families with the most valuable item of all, his time. Gardeck took the time during each activation to sit down and talk with each veteran and active-duty personnel attending. Gardeck also recently took flight in an F-16, right alongside F-16 and F-35 Pilots at Luke AFB in Glendale.

Who can be nominated for the Salute to Service Award?

Current players, coaches, past players and other team employees can be nominated for the award by their team.

Here is the full list of nominees:

  • Arizona Cardinals: LB Dennis Gardeck
  • Atlanta Falcons: head coach Arthur Smith
  • Baltimore Ravens: cheerleaders
  • Buffalo Bills: LS Reid Ferguson
  • Carolina Panthers: TE Hayden Hurst
  • Chicago Bears: G Cody Whitehair
  • Cincinnati Bengals: security staff member Clint Walker
  • Cleveland Browns: player personnel and football operations manager Joy Tapajcik
  • Dallas Cowboys: EVP and chief brand officer Charlotte Jones
  • Denver Broncos: former LB Randy Gradishar
  • Detroit Lions: hometown hero coordinator Ronnie Cyrus
  • Green Bay Packers: RB Aaron Jones
  • Houston Texans: cheerleaders
  • Indianapolis Colts: COO Pete Ward
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Devin Lloyd
  • Kansas City Chiefs: LS James Winchester
  • Las Vegas Raiders: QB Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Los Angeles Chargers: DL Morgan Fox
  • Los Angeles Rams: WR Cooper Kupp
  • Miami Dolphins: LS Blake Ferguson
  • Minnesota Vikings: late head coach Bud Grant
  • New England Patriots: LS Joe Cardona
  • New Orleans Saints: LB Pete Werner
  • New York Giants: K Graham Gano
  • New York Jets: former RB Tony Richardson
  • Philadelphia Eagles: operations coordinator Cristian Narino Garcia
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Levi Wallace
  • San Francisco 49ers: TE George Kittle
  • Seattle Seahawks: LB Joe Rhattigan
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K Martin Gramatica
  • Tennessee Titans: G Peter Skoronski
  • Washington Commanders: Washington salute military program lead Chris Bailey

Who votes for the Salute to Service Award?

Fans can vote once per day until Nov. 30 to help determine the award’s three finalists. To see all the nominees and vote, visit

The three finalists will be announced in January, and the winner will be recognized at NFL Honors, an awards special that will air in February during Super Bowl-week.

Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera won the award last season. Rivera will serve on the award panel alongside other members of the military and NFL community that will determine this year’s winner.

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