Prince Harry made a surprise appearance at the annual NFL Honors event on Thursday after a brief trip to London to visit his cancer-stricken father, King Charles III.
The Duke of Sussex presented Cameron Heyward with the 2023 Walter Payton Man of the Year award, the highest honor of the night, during the ceremony in Las Vegas.
“Everything you guys do on and off the field is truly extraordinary. “They are role models for millions in the way they conduct themselves and the way they give back,” the royal, 39, said. he said on stage.
Harry then called Heyward “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 Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle was specifically honored for his work with The Heyward Housewhich she founded in 2015 to help children from diverse backgrounds who need extra support, whether it’s new clothes for school or a touching birthday card.
As Harry noted, the NFL player’s foundation was created with his past experiences in mind.
Heyward, who lost his father when he was a teenager, suffered from severe asthma as a child and did not believe he would ever play a sport.
“When I talk about my dad, he wore number 34. He has been with me all the time. He has been with me every step of the way. But I know there was another number 34 that was helping me. This man, Walter Payton,” he said in his acceptance speech.
“No act is too small or too big,” he added. “We are all trying to make a difference in the lives of so many people.”
Of course, Harry’s estranged father revealed his cancer diagnosis this week following a planned procedure for a benign enlarged prostate.
He immediately flew to London to be at Charles’ side, which royal expert Katie Nicholl told “Entertainment Tonight” could be a path toward reconciliation between the feuding father and son.
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“I know, for Charles, the door has always been open regardless of some of the things that Harry has written,” Nicholl said, referring to Harry’s 2023 memoir, “Spare,” in which he wrote about Harry’s private affairs. his family.
“A source very close to the king told me that, regardless of what Harry has said or done, he loves his son.”
It is unclear how the trip went, as Harry left the UK on Wednesday after spending around 24 hours in his home country.
His wife, Meghan Markle, did not accompany him on the brief visit, but was seen smiling as she drove her Range Rover near the couple’s $14 million Montecito, California, mansion on Wednesday afternoon.