We are fortunate that so many of today’s NFL players understand the incredible platform they have been provided to make meaningful contributions in their communities—their hometowns, their college towns and the cities where they play on Sundays. Whether it’s their time, money or both, NFL players impact and serve others in countless ways.
On December 7, the NFL will announce the 32 team nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award, which will be presented to one outstanding player on February 4 in Houston, honors these men for the remarkable work they are doing.
I believe the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the highest off-the-field honor for an NFL player. It was very humbling to join the distinguished list of recipients in 2005, working to carry on the tradition of the many players who set the standard for giving back.
Last year’s finalists were no exception. The opportunities Anquan Boldin provides to underprivileged youth, Benjamin Watson’s commitment to family support and social change, and my brother, Eli’s spearheading of Tackle Kids’ Cancer and Guiding Eyes for the Blind are outstanding.
Player community efforts extend far beyond the NFL, though. It has caught the attention of the business world as well.
Over the past few years, local and national businesses have begun to lend more support to the players’ charities and causes. Nationwide, a key supporter of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, has donated more than $500,000 since 2014 to the foundations of the nominees.
It’s this kind of giving that helps players accomplish their philanthropic missions and make a greater impact on those they are trying to help.
Starting December 7, I encourage everyone to visit www.nfl.com/manoftheyear to learn more about the extraordinary work being done by these players and contribute to their efforts in any way possible. You can make a difference and improve the lives of others through your support.
The nominees are an inspiration to us all and a shining example of what the NFL embodies.
I look forward to seeing who will win in February.