Posted on: February 9, 2024, 10:15h.
Last updated on: February 9, 2024, 10:25h.
Prince Harry made a surprise appearance on Thursday night at the annual NFL Honors event, held at Resorts World Las Vegas, leaving players starstruck.
“All you guys do on and off the field is truly remarkable,” the 39-year-old royal told the crowd. “You are role models for millions in the way you carry yourselves and in the way you give back.”
The Duke of Sussex presented the Man of the Year Award, the highest honor of the night, to Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harry referred to Heyward as “a player who goes above and beyond” and noted that his “extraordinary commitment to helping others is a reflection of his own story.”
The 34-year-old defensive tackle founded the Heyward House in 2015 to help children with challenging home-life situations. Heyward, who lost his father as a teen, suffered from severe asthma as a child and didn’t believe he would ever play a sport.
“Oh, man!” Heyward said when he accepted the award. “Man! Prince freaking Harry! Man, I’m in shock. That’s Prince Harry!”
Harry’s appearance in Las Vegas was especially surprising since he had made global headlines a day earlier for jetting to Britain to see his father, King Charles III, following a statement from Buckingham Palace on Monday that the monarch was being treated for cancer.
Before awarding Heyward, Harry joked about football’s debt to a favorite British pastime.
I really love how you stole rugby from us and you made it your own,” he said. “Instead of passing it backwards, just pass it forwards. Why not wear pads and a helmet? Of course, have an offense and defense — that makes sense. And why not take a breather every 15 seconds?
“And you know what? Instead of a 10-month season, let’s just make it 18 weeks. Genius!”