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NFL Announces 32 Nominees for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

NFL Announces 32 Nominees for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

12/07/2021
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The NFL on Tuesday announced the 32 nominees for the WALTER PAYTON NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.

Representing the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each player was selected as his team's Man of the Year and now is eligible to win the national award.

Considered the league's most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.

First established in 1970, the national award was renamed for Payton, the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back, in 1999. He also won the award, presented to him in 1977.

Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas was the award’s first winner. Over the years, 29 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have received the honor, most recently in 2008, when Kurt Warner was named its recipient.

Other Hall of Famers to earn the coveted award are: Willie Lanier (1972), Len Dawson (1973), George Blanda (1974), Franco Harris (1976), Roger Staubach (1978), Joe Greene (1979), Harold Carmichael (1980), Lynn Swann (1981), Dwight Stevenson (1985), Steve Largent (1988), Warren Moon (1989), Mike Singletary (1990), Anthony Muñoz (1991), John Elway (1992), Derrick Thomas (1993), Junior Seau (1994), Darrell Green (1996), Troy Aikman (1997), Dan Marino (1998), Cris Carter (1999), Derrick Brooks (2000), Jerome Bettis (2001), Will Shields (2003), Peyton Manning (2005), LaDanian Tomlinson (2006) and Jason Taylor (2007).

“The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the League's most prestigious honor, and these 32 men represent their many teammates who do incredible things in their communities,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Their unwavering commitment to their hometowns and team communities embodies Walter's spirit of giving back in a way that makes us all incredibly proud of the work they are doing every day.”

For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally on Thursday, Feb. 10, on ABC.

All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

“The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees continue to impress and inspire us, and Nationwide is proud to recognize their exemplary commitment to giving back and making a difference,” said Ramon Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Nationwide. “It is an honor to showcase their stories and support the charitable organizations that benefit from the extraordinary efforts of these community champions.”

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's seventh annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second- and third-place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, respectively, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at NFL.com/manoftheyear.

Beginning in 2017, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette came to life in uniform elements to further recognize past award winners and current nominees. The three current players who have won the award — J.J. Watt, Calais Campbell and Russell Wilson — continue to wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and to their communities. All 2021 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 14 and continuing through the end of the season in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field.

Each of these players support many different causes, ranging from social justice work, supporting veterans, fighting homelessness and more.

Here are the 2021 nominees:

  • Arizona Cardinals, Kelvin Beachum
  • Atlanta Falcons, Mike Davis
  • Baltimore Ravens, Bradley Bozeman
  • Buffalo Bills, Harrison Phillips
  • Carolina Panthers, DJ Moore
  • Chicago Bears, Jimmy Graham
  • Cincinnati Bengals, Sam Hubbard
  • Cleveland Browns, Denzel Ward
  • Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott
  • Denver Broncos, Justin Simmons
  • Detroit Lions, Jason Cabinda
  • Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones
  • Houston Texans, Justin Reid
  • Indianapolis Colts, Kenny Moore II
  • Jacksonville Jaguars, Myles Jack
  • Kansas City Chiefs, Tyrann Mathieu
  • Las Vegas Raiders, Darren Waller
  • Los Angeles Chargers, Corey Linsley
  • Los Angeles Rams, Andrew Whitworth
  • Miami Dolphins, Jerome Baker
  • Minnesota Vikings, Anthony Barr
  • New England Patriots, Lawrence Guy
  • New Orleans Saints, Cameron Jordan
  • New York Giants, Logan Ryan
  • New York Jets, Quinnen Williams
  • Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Kelce
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, Cameron Heyward
  • San Francisco 49ers, Arik Armstead
  • Seattle Seahawks, Tyler Lockett
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Evans
  • Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry
  • Washington Football Team, Jonathan Allen
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