GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Former Furman All-American/Hall of Famer and veteran Montreal Alouettes receiver Brian Bratton has been named the Canadian Football League's 2012 Tom Pate Award winner, it has been announced.
The Tom Pate Award, which is similar to the NFL's Walter Payton "Man of The Year," honors a player who displays outstanding sportsmanship and has made a significant contribution to his community.
"I try to inspire through motivational speeches in Montreal as well as in South Carolina," said Bratton of the importance of giving back to the community. "During my time in the regular season, I'm very active in the city and always looking to lend a helping hand to youths and to better the community the best way I can. It's important to take time out of our busy schedule to help others."
The 30-year-old equally made his presence felt by participating in many charitable events including the first Alouettes Community Festival held in Pointe-Saint-Charles this fall, and in a Thanksgiving tradition for the Alouettes, serving holiday meals to the homeless at the Welcome Hall MIssion.
The six-year veteran also launched the Brian Bratton Football Academy back home in South Carolina, which aims to provide young athletes the opportunity to learn from experienced and positive players of influence in a safe and fun environment.
Bratton, a 2011 Furman Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, earned SoCon Freshman of the Year and All-America accolades in 2001 after averaging a nation best 37.2 yards on kickoff returns, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He caught 131 passes for 1,826 yards, and 18 touchdowns in his career, helping lead Furman to a pair of SoCon championships (2001 & '04), three playoff appearances, including an FCS national runner-up finish.
Following graduation, the Martinez, Ga., signed free agent contracts with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. After starring with the Cologne Centurions (NFL Europe) in 2006, he joined the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes in 2007 where over the last six years he has caught 259 passes for 3,245 yards, and 23 touchdowns while helping Montreal to Grey Cup championships in both 2009 & '10.
Every year the CFLPA invites each CFL Club to nominate a team member for this award. "That's what makes this so special for me," admitted Bratton. "To have my teammates and peers recognize that I'm trying to make a difference means a lot."
Bratton is the third Alouettes player to receive the honour, following the footsteps of Baron Miles and Nick Arakgi who were recognized for their community efforts off the field in 2004 and 1987 respectively.