The Detroit Lions announced today that the players have voted DL Darryl Tapp as the winner of the "Mike Utley Spirit Award." The award is named after Utley, who was paralyzed while playing with the Lions in 1991, but gave a thumbs up while being wheeled off the field, and was a big motivation to a Lions team that advanced to the NFC Championship game.
Near 7 p.m. on November 17, 1991, Mike Utley walked onto the turf inside the Pontiac Silverdome. Utley, the Detroit Lions’ starting right guard, had spent three quarters trying to clear paths for Barry Sanders, but he had little to show for his efforts. Sanders had been contained. The Lions trailed the Los Angeles Rams, 10-7.
Today will commemorate the 20th anniversary for Mike Utley (#60) former offensive guard for the Detroit Lions. On November 17, 1991, during a crucial game against the Los Angeles Rams, while attempting to throw a block during a pass play, Mike Utley was paralyzed. Mikes’ story does not end on this monumental day in his life. His fighting spirit over the years symbolizes that Mike Utley is still going stronger than ever.