Jon Condo entered this weekend in Baltimore honored to talk about his role on the Oakland Raiders last season and his work in the community. He just wasn't sure what he could say about his future.
"I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason, and if something's meant to be, something's meant to be," the free-agent long snapper and Maryland graduate said Friday. "So it's out of my control for the most part. Whatever the Raiders think of me, they think of me."
He's certainly well regarded. Condo, 35, was voted by his teammates as an Ed Block Courage Award winner, given to the player on each NFL team seen as a role model of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage. Condo, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll (Maryland) and Chicago Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee, a former Raven, among others, will be honored Saturday at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.
Even in the offseason, the work rarely stops. Not long after Condo arrived in Baltimore on Friday night, he was given a Sharpie and swarmed by autograph-craving kids at an event put on by the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation. The foundation, named after the longtime Baltimore Colts head athletic trainer and humanitarian, raises awareness for and promotes the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Condo was happy to help in any way he could. Back home in the Bay Area, he has volunteered with Easter Seals, a nonprofit that assists people with disabilities; visited the Children's Hospital Oakland; and participated in the Raiders' Toys for Tots drive, along with numerous other community appearances.
"I really think it matters helping not necessarily kids but people in general who are underprivileged, and stuff's going wrong for them, and it's not really their fault," the two-time Pro Bowl selection said. "Whatever I do, I like to bring a smile to a kid's face. … I think anytime I get a chance to use the platform as an NFL player to go out and to shake hands and smile and joke and laugh with people, if it makes them feel better, then I feel really good about myself."
It has been a gratifying year. After suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in 2015 that halted his streak of 141 consecutive games played, Condo said he began to wonder: "Is my career over? What's going on?" The adversity was more mental than physical, he acknowledged.
But he returned to the field to play in every Raiders game in 2016, including the team's first playoff appearance since 2002.
"I'm just blessed and fortunate to be where I'm at," he said.
Note: Safety Matt Elam, the Ravens' Ed Block Courage Award winner, will not be attending the event; he was arrested on drug charges in Miami last month. Samari Rolle, a past recipient, will be representing the Ravens onstage, a spokesman for the foundation said.