INDIANAPOLIS -- Malik Boyd had a brief NFL career as a defensive back, and when it was over, he knew he wanted to stay in the game.
His brief foray into coaching – on the high school level – proved to him he'd rather work on the personnel side. So began a journey that brought the Cardinals' Western Regional scout to a ballroom at the downtown Indianapolis Marriott Friday afternoon being honored by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
Boyd, in his 10th season scouting for the Cardinals and his 15th NFL season overall, was named the NFC scout of the year by the organization created to help diversity in the NFL. It is named after the first African-American coach in the league.
"It's huge to be recognized," Boyd said. "There is always a crossroads (for someone) and someone is there to assist you, whether it is an African-American or whomever. I just appreciate everything everyone has done."
Boyd has moved up through the ranks in Arizona, first as an area scout, then a regional scout before being promoted to his current role last year. He is responsible for cross-checking player evaluations for the western half of the country.
"He's done a fantastic job for us," General Manager Steve Keim said. "I've known him for a long time, I've worked with him for a long time and the honor is well deserved. He very organized, he's passionate about what he does, and it couldn't be more fitting for a better person."
The Cardinals have had their share of Fritz Pollard Alliance award winners in recent years. Former general manager Rod Graves was honored in 2011 and owner Bill Bidwill received an award in 2010, both getting the Tank Younger award for their work promoting minority opportunities in the NFL.
Boyd played defensive back for the Vikings and Saints from 1994-96 and spent a season playing in the Canadian Football League. He got into scouting in 2003 with the Colts before joining the Cards in 2005.
"Malik is the kind of guy who will continue to get a bigger role," Keim said. "He's the kind of guy who will ascend in this business."
Boyd was joined at the event by his wife Varinia, as well as Keim, vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, director of pro scouting Quentin Harris and pro scout Josh Scobey.
He said his biggest highlight with the Cardinals was the Super Bowl season of 2008. But it was the little parts of the job that gave the most satisfaction.
"Being in the draft room and seeing the young players develop over time, that's the huge part for me," Boyd said. "That's the rewarding part."