FAIRFIELD – It’s not every day that an NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer makes a visit to small-town Montana.
Fairfield was presented that treat on March 28. Hall of Fame cornerback for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders Mike Haynes, plus members of the U.S. Army, came to Fairfield to award Ryder Meyer as a finalist for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence.
“It’s a huge honor, you know? Just to have a Hall of Famer. It’s not every day that a Hall of Famer as a player and person like Mike Haynes comes to Fairfield, Montana of all places,” said Meyer. “So it’s a super cool thing for our community to be a part of.”
“There’s kids all over the country that are hearing messages about being good kids and doing the right things, and sometimes it goes unnoticed, they don’t get a chance to be rewarded for it,” said Haynes. “This gives me a chance to get out and say thank you to those people who have started programs in a different kind of way.”
The award highlights the achievements of high school student-athletes across the country. Finalists were based on athletic, academic, and civic achievements. The Fairfield junior told all about his achievements in an essay he submitted. Meyer is one one of only 25 finalists to achieve the nomination across the country, so it was no surprise that once he made the cut, it was quite the shock.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, I was in one of my classes at the time,” said Meyer. “Afterwards I saw I had a missed call. I read what the voicemail said and I couldn’t believe it. I ran and told my dad right away and we were both pretty excited.”
“The one thing I think, as a dad and a coach, I think that he plays the game hard,” said Fairfield football coach and Ryder’s father Les Meyer. “I think he’s a good sportsman and he takes his studies and athletics serious.”
Meyer will be honored as a finalist in Canton, Ohio during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement week in August. The winner of the award will win a $2,500 scholarship.
“I don’t know if Ryder really knows this, but he’s just been nominated for the Hall of Fame. Just being nominated, that puts him in the Hall of Fame, I don’t know if everyone knows that,” said Haynes. “That winner will be there, as well. It’s just an honor to be there. He’s going to have a chance to meet some of the greatest players, coaches and contributors to football there are, and I’m sure he’s going to have a great time.”