CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.- It was only fitting Preston Gilbreath received the 2012 Bonnie Sloan Courage Award earlier this week at the National Football Foundation Middle Tennessee Chapter Awards banquet.
Like Sloan, Gilbreath is hearing impaired. And like Sloan, Gilbreath followed in Sloan's footsteps, albeit nearly 40 years later, coming to Austin Peay State University to become a defensive lineman for the Governors. The two met at Governors Stadium during Spring 2010.
A Nashville native, Sloan came to APSU in 1969 and became a two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference player who later (1981) was inducted into APSU's Athletic Hall of Fame. After a superb college career, Sloan went onto to play in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals and New Orleans Saints, becoming the first legally deaf individual to play in the NFL. The NFF Middle Tennessee chapter established the Bonnie Sloan Courage Award, with its namesake receiving the first honor. It is annually presented person who exemplifies outstanding courage during his or her careers.
A rising senior, the 6-5, 290-pound Gilbreath has been a part of the Govs regular defensive line rotation during his three-season APSU career.
A Mt. Pleasant, Gilbreath received the award Monday night from Sloan. In addition, senior defensive back and team leader, Antwaun Majors, received the NFF Middle Tennessee chapter's award as APSU's "scholar athlete."