The Packers’ Bryan “Flea” Engel was named the NFC’s winner of the Tim Davey Assistant Athletic Trainer of the Year award at last week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The award began in 2010 in honor of Davey, a former assistant trainer for the Jets, who passed away that year. An employee of the Jets and the NFL for 33 years, Davey worked on the athletic training staff for the Jets (1969-77), moved into team operations (1977-91) and then joined the league office in game operations.
One assistant athletic trainer from the NFC and one from the AFC is recognized each year by the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. Packers head athletic trainer Pepper Burruss, who worked with Davey while with the Jets, presented Engel with the award at the PFATS annual business meeting last week at the combine.
“It’s humbling to get an award like that amongst your peers,” Engel said. “Knowing who the award is named after, it has a special meaning from the stories I’ve heard about Tim Davey from ‘Pep’ and the special relationship he had with him.”
Engel just completed his 17th season as an athletic trainer for the Packers. He began his time in Green Bay as an intern in 1997 following two internships with the New England Patriots. He initially met the Packers’ training staff at Super Bowl XXXI while working for the opposing Patriots and came to Green Bay for an interview just a few weeks after that game.
After two seasons as an intern for the Packers, Engel became a full-time assistant in 1999 and has remained with the Packers since, though he never necessarily envisioned staying with one team this long.
“Each year, I just wanted another opportunity, and I figured I’d just keep doing it until somebody told me no,” the humble and soft-spoken Engel said. “Fortunately, nobody’s told me no yet. The door still opens when I put my (ID) card up to it. That’s pretty cool.”
Engel is the third member of the Packers’ medical staff to be honored in recent years. Dr. Patrick McKenzie received the Jerry “Hawk” Rhea award as the NFL’s outstanding team physician in 2011, while Burruss received the Fain Cain Memorial Award as the league’s top athletic trainer last year.
“An award like this speaks to who we are as a staff,” said Engel, adding the names of team physician Dr. John Gray, assistant athletic trainers Kurt Fielding and Nate Weir, plus multiple interns. “We all work together to try to take care of the team, take care of the players and do right by them. If one of us gets an award, we’re all thankful for the support from each other. We’re a group effort, and to me you have to have that.”
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