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Prince Harry makes surprise appearance at NFL Honors after visiting King Charles III

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 15: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex looks on during day six of the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 on September 15, 2023 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023)

LAS VEGAS — Prince Harry made an appearance at the NFL Honors in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

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Prince Harry gave out the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year to Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, People magazine reported.

“Good evening, NFL. It’s an honor to be with you all tonight,” the Duke of Sussex said, according to People.

“I really love how you stole rugby from us and you made it your own. Instead of passing it backwards, just pass it forwards. Why not wear pads and a helmet? Of course, have an offense and defense, that makes sense. And why not take a breather every 15 seconds? And you know what? Instead of a 10-month season, let’s just make it 18 weeks. Genius,” Prince Harry said, according to CNN.

“All kidding aside, all you guys do on and off the field is truly remarkable. You are role models for millions in the way you carry yourselves and in the way you give back. This final award, the highest honor, is all about serving your community. And there’s one special man we’d like to pay tribute to now. A player who goes above and beyond and whose extraordinary commitment to helping others is a reflection of his own story,” according to People.

“Prince freakin’ Harry,” Heyward said in his acceptance speech, according to The Associated Press. “Man, I’m in shock. That’s Prince Harry.”

The Man of the Year Award goes to a player with the NFL who not only plays well but also makes a positive impact in the community, according to CNN. The award was created in 1970.

This year marked the sixth time that Heyward was nominated by the Steelers for the award, according to the AP. Heyward had created the Heyward House Foundation that gives back to the community in Philadelphia but also honors his late father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who was a fullback in the NFL from 1988 to 1998, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Craig “Ironhead” Heyward died in 2006 from brain cancer. He was 39.

“I want to say thank you to the Pittsburgh Steelers for giving me this opportunity,” Heyward said, according to the AP. “Mike T (Tomlin), it’s an honor to be coached by you. I couldn’t play for any other coach. To my teammates, I’m thankful to be your teammate.”

Prince Harry’s appearance in Las Vegas Thursday happened shortly after returning from the United Kingdom to see his father, King Charles III, CNN reported.

Buckingham Palace officials said last Monday that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately elaborate on the issue or the form of cancer that Charles was diagnosed with, saying the king “has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”