For many players across the NFL, making an impact on the football field is just the start for them. While the league is full of talent, and uniquely special athletes, the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award highlights those within the league that are not only special on the field but off of it as well.
The award focuses on players who make a concerted effort to give back to their communities. Every year each team nominates one deserving person to be honored for their work. From there, there is one winner named at the end of the season, with the latest winner being Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
Who Are the Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominees?
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is the most prestigious off-the-field award that the NFL offers. It’s quite an honor to just be nominated, but if you are to be selected amongst your peers as the winner, it’s an achievement that follows you for a lifetime.
Each nominee gets a donation of up to $55,000 in their name to a charity of their choice from the NFL and Nationwide, and the final winner has a $250,000 donation go in their name to their charity of choice after the fact as well.
Also, players who win the award are identified and glorified in every game following their winning of the honor by having a patch added to the chest plate of their jersey. The patch is in the shape of the trophy they receive, in full color, for the rest of the league to see every Sunday.
The NFL has just released the 32 nominees for this year’s award. Let’s take a closer look at the nominees.
- Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Ledbetter
- Atlanta Falcons: Bradley Pinion
- Baltimore Ravens: Roquan Smith
- Buffalo Bills: Dion Dawkins
- Carolina Panthers: Bradley Bozeman
- Chicago Bears: Justin Jones
- Cincinnati Bengals: Ted Karras
- Cleveland Browns: Anthony Walker Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence
- Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles
- Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow
- Green Bay Packers: De’Vondre Campbell
- Houston Texans: Jon Weeks
- Indianapolis Colts: Zaire Franklin
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Dawuane Smoot
- Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
- Las Vegas Raiders: Maxx Crosby
- Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James Jr.
- Los Angeles Rams: Cooper Kupp
- Miami Dolphins: Alec Ingold
- Minnesota Vikings: Harrison Phillips
- New England Patriots: Jonathan Jones
- New Orleans Saints: Tyrann Mathieu
- New York Giants: Saquon Barkley
- New York Jets: Solomon Thomas
- Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward
- San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead
- Seattle Seahawks: Bobby Wagner
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Antoine Winfield Jr.
- Tennessee Titans: Jeffery Simmons
- Washington Commanders: Terry McLaurin
One of these 32 individuals will take home the prestigious honor and will be able to carry the achievement with them for the rest of their lives.
Notable Acts Within the Community
While every one of these players is nominated for a reason, each with noble causes and reasons for winning the award, some have truly found ways to go above and beyond within their communities to make a lasting impact.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is not only a star on the field, he has proven to be much more than that off of it as well.
According to the Chiefs website, “In 2019, he established his Foundation, 15, and the Mahomies Foundation, which has placed an emphasis on improving the lives of children with a continued focus on supporting health, wellness, and various communities in need of resources.”
“To date, over $4 million in grants and programs have been distributed by the foundation, and the impact felt by the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation has been acknowledged locally as the Kansas City Business Journal ranked it among Kansas City’s Biggest Charitable Trusts and Foundations by grant volume.”
Meanwhile, Seahawks veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner has been doing his part within his community as well. This is the second time Wagner has been nominated for the prestigious award and is also the team’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award nominee as well.
According to the Seahawks’ official website, “Some of the causes Wagner supports are very personal, most notably the FAST54 campaign he launched this year in partnership with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, which raises awareness for the signs of stroke and raises money for the Phenia Mae Fund, which is named in honor of his mother, Phenia Mae, who he lost to a stroke when he was in college.”
KEEP READING: List of Past Walter Payton Man of the Year Award Winners
Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!