WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — New York Jets wide receiver and Urbandale native Allen Lazard was back in the Des Moines area Friday.
While most of the awards he's won in his career have been for his talent on the football field, Friday night he was honored for his character.
Lazard was named the 2023 Robert D. and Billie Ray Pillar of Character Award recipient.
"It probably takes the top spot because for me personally with my career and everything," Lazard said. "The biggest thing that I wanted to do was regardless of what I'm doing on the field or off the field is have an impact on the community, to be a leader and set an example for others."
The former Iowa State standout frequently returns to his home state to put on youth football camps and started the nonprofit organization At the Top, which focuses on supporting veterans.
Lazard recently signed a four-year contract with the New York Jets after spending five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Despite wanting to re-sign with the team, Lazard said the Packers didn't show much interest in keeping him around. Now, he's looking forward to a fresh start in New York.
"It's the proving myself right, not proving others wrong," Lazard said. "I think that's kind of my main focus and how I approach my career and my day-to-day life. Not worrying about the external sources or what other people are saying or what they think. Just focus on myself, concentrate on myself and invest in myself."