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Photo courtesy of Facebook, inset courtesy of Leonard Marshall
Photo courtesy of Facebook, inset courtesy of Leonard Marshall
Former NFL star Leonard Marshall has been named Man of the Year.

He’s the man!

Former NFL Pro Bowler and defensive end for the New York Giants Leonard Marshall has been named the Man of the Year for the annual Brooklyn Power Women in Business Networking and Awards Event, hosted by Schneps Communications and Star Network, which will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 6-9 p.m. at the Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Avenue.

The two-time Super Bowl champion is thrilled to be honored at an event that honors recipients for their outstanding leadership and their contributions to the community.

“When I was contacted to participate and receive the award by (event organizer) Lori Pedone, I was obviously excited, but also very humbled,” the 55-year-old Marshall said. “It’s extremely gratifying. I’m always impressed by those who give and understand that it’s not about me and my successes or the riches associated with it, but about the development of young people.”

Marshall has been involved in a variety of charitable endeavors in the metropolitan area, including mental health care service CarePlus. “I always worked with children and adolescents that are dealing with traumatic brain injury and impairment,” he said. “When working with them, I truly enjoy what I do. The greatest reward is watching these young people grow uniquely.”

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Photo courtesy of Facebook

As far as giving back, Marshall has plenty of highlights that go beyond the gridiron. While playing for the Giants, he was honored for his work with the United Way and the dedication he gave to kids living in Section 8 housing in Newark. He was named the United Way Man of the Year in 1991.

Among his favorite opportunities is giving back to the homeless. “One of the moments I’ll never forget was last year during Super Bowl 50. Because I’m a partner and equity stakeholder at a company called the Original Soupman, I went into a neighborhood in San Francisco which is filled with drug addicts and homeless people and then fed 300 kids at a school,” Marshall said. “To watch those kids light up and for me to hand out soup products was outstanding. That’s what’s meaningful and this life that I’ve had and the relationship and love that I’ve had with professional football. And I will continue to give of myself.”

Marshall also discussed his role models and who youth should look up to. “I took direction from two great men who taught me how to play the game of football early on in my career as a professional athlete — Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick,” he said. “Because of what they did and the way they helped me develop my skills on and off the field, they helped shape my life to be a dad and a provider, and be a person who still remains humble today.

“I always say to young people, if you want to look to someone to be a role model, look to your parents and what they do and how they do it,” he continued. “If you want to look to someone to model your life after, look to your favorite athlete and watch what he or she does.”

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