Playoff-bound Philadelphia Stars Running Back excels on and off the field
USFL Playoffs Begin Saturday June 25 in Canton, Ohio
CANTON, Ohio, June 24, 2022 – Heading into the inaugural playoffs, the United States Football League today announced that Philadelphia Stars Running Back Matt Colburn II was named USFL Sportsman of the Year.
The USFL Sportsman of the Year Award recognizes the player who has best exhibited excellence on the field, and leadership to the community off the field. Colburn was informed of the honor today by USFL President of Football Operations Brian Woods while players from the four playoff teams were touring the Pro Football Hall of Fame ahead of Saturday’s games.
“To be in Canton at the Hall of Fame and to be playing for a shot to win the USFL Championship is a dream come true,” said Colburn. “We saw the busts of Walter Payton and so many others who are not only legends for how they played, they also made a difference in people’s lives – that’s what I aspire to. For me personally, helping kids is important, so I was able to participate in USFL-sponsored events that served our neighbors around the Birmingham region. I’m proud to be part of a league that emphasizes community outreach and I’m honored to be named USFL Sportsman of the Year.”
With training camp and all regular-season games played in Birmingham, Alabama, Colburn led several volunteer opportunities organized by the USFL. He worked with more than 250 kids at a Youth Football Skills Clinic to help develop the leaders of tomorrow. He visited two elementary schools where he read to students and shared encouraging messages. Most recently, Colburn attended a “fishing rodeo” where he played football with kids and their families.
“I am the eldest of six, so I am motivated to be the best role-model and big brother that I can to my little brothers and baby sister,” said Colburn. “That same motivation applies when I am out in the community helping kids. Whether it be reading to them, playing catch, or, giving them tips and advice on how to be successful. It’s very important to me to be able to balance these extra curriculars along with what I do on the field because it is bigger than me—it’s bigger than just scoring touchdowns. There’s always an eye in the sky, always someone watching you, always someone looking up to you. I remember when I was a kid and how much it meant to me when football players would spend time with me and my peers. I believe it is my duty to give back, not as an obligation but rather the understanding that I too was once that little kid who cherished when athletes would volunteer their time to be with us. Every kid deserves that and I want to show them as if they were one of my siblings.”
On the field, Colburn was arguably the best second-half player in the USFL. In Weeks 6 through 10, he had more than 400 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards. He also scored 8 touchdowns, including one of the best runs of the season in this game-winner against the Pittsburgh Maulers. His outstanding play helped propel the Stars to a 4-1 second-half record and secured a playoff berth to Canton.
“Matt leads by example in everything he does,” said Philadelphia Stars Head Coach Bart Andrus. “Even though he was sidelined by an injury early in the season, he battled through it, came back to our starting lineup, and has been one of the best players in the USFL. He’s always willing to take Show-Team reps in practice for our defense, something that speaks to his unselfish brand of leadership. On or off the field, Matt’s actions define him as a generous man of determination and commitment. He’s earned this recognition and I’m proud to have him on our team.”
Andrus, Colburn, and the Philadelphia Stars (6-4) will be at Canton’s Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday June 25, where they will battle the New Jersey Generals (9-1) in the North Division Final starting at 3:00 PM ET on FOX. After a special performance by multi-platinum entertainer Trace Adkins, Game 2 of the inaugural USFL Playoffs will feature the South Division Final, as the Birmingham Stallions (9-1) face the New Orleans Breakers (6-4) at 8:00 PM ET on NBC. The two winners will remain in Canton to compete in the USFL Championship Game on Sunday July 3 at 7:30 PM ET on FOX.
About the USFL:
The United States Football League (USFL) is a new, independent football league that is not affiliated with the defunct 1980s league or its owners. The inaugural USFL season kicked off April 16 with eight teams split into two divisions: the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits in the South Division; and the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers in the North Division. Each team will play a 10-game regular-season in Birmingham. The USFL Playoffs begin in Canton, Ohio, on June 25 with the Generals and Stars clashing in the North Division Final, and the Stallions and Breakers facing off in the South Division Final. The two division champions will meet in the inaugural USFL Championship Game on July 3. Each USFL team carries a 40-man active roster plus a 10-man practice squad. Players receive base compensation and are eligible for victory bonuses. NBC Sports and FOX Sports are the League’s official media partners and will present all 43 regular- and postseason games on FOX, FS1, NBC, USA, or Peacock networks. Brian Woods is President of Football Operations, and former Dallas Cowboys standout and long-time NFL on FOX game analyst Daryl Johnston is Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and FOX Sports’ NFL and college football rules analyst Mike Pereira is Head of Officiating. For more information, visit theUSFL.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.