Updated February 17, 9:49 AM CT
February 03, 2019
NFL announces Eagles' Long named Walter Payton Man of Year
The NFL announced today that Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on Saturday for his activities off the field.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end CHRIS LONG was named the 2018 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE, the NFL announced today. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award 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 in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON. The announcement was made during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special held at Fox Theatre in Atlanta that will air nationally at 9 PM (ET and PT) on CBS tonight.
New this year, prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LIII, all 32 Man of the Year finalists will be recognized on-field, as a testament to each of their contributions to the game and to their communities. The Man of the Year Finalist Pregame Moment will culminate with the introduction of Long as the 2018 award recipient.
"Chris Long continues to amaze and inspire us with his generous spirit and tireless commitment to many communities and cities," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "He is a role model for us all, as he exemplifies the legacy of service and leadership that this recognition represents. We congratulate him on this well-deserved award."
"Long's dedication to making a difference in his community is a shining example of the positive impact one person can make in the lives of others." said Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer TERRANCE WILLIAMS. "Nationwide congratulates Long on being named this year's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and thanks all the nominees for their service."
This is the second time Long has been named his team's Man of the Year. In 2015, after being named the St. Louis Rams' Man of the Year, Long established The Chris Long Foundation. The mission of The Chris Long Foundation is to engage and create programs focused around four main philanthropic causes: clean water, military appreciation, homelessness and youth.
Notably, Long also celebrated his 10th season playing in the NFL by donating his entire year's salary, roughly $1 million, to support educational initiatives in the cities in which he has played, St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. This groundbreaking donation was not in isolation, however, as Long used the occasion to encourage his fans to join him in the effort—raising an additional $750,000 through that outreach, which was donated to Summer Search in Boston and Philadelphia, as well as College Bound and Little Bit in St. Louis.
In 2018, Long continued more than a decade of community service by creating his First Quarter for Literacy program and donating 100% of his first four game checks to fund the program. First Quarter for Literacy provides under-served Philadelphia families, and families nationwide, with free books, literacy resources and mentoring services.
Earlier in 2018, Long conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro for the third time alongside 11 current and former NFL players and U.S. military veterans as part of his Conquering Kili initiative. The initiative brings together a class of combat veterans, giving them the opportunity to continue serving others by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money to build clean water wells for East Africa. Additionally, as a founding member of the Players' Coalition Task Force, Long has taken his solution-focused efforts and used his platform to elevate the voice of others., Long has taken a hands-on, leadership role in the Players' Coalition's efforts to reform the bail system in Philadelphia and beyond, working specifically on educational equality, police and community relations and criminal justice reform.
Long will receive $500,000, half of which will go to a charity of his choice and half of which will support the expansion of Character Playbook across the country. Character Playbook is the NFL and United Way's digital education program. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Representing the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each of these players was selected as his team's Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, 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 in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON.
"The Man of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to acknowledge 32 exemplary players whose commitment to excellence extends on and off the field," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "This year's nominees have used their platforms to transform communities across the country. We are proud of their work and celebrate their dedication and impact through this award."
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Five hundred thousand dollars will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner. $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
"Nationwide is honored to help highlight and support the incredible efforts of this year's team nominees," said Nationwide's Chief Marketing Officer TERRANCE WILLIAMS. "We hope others are inspired by these 32 men to make positive differences—big and small—in their own communities. Congratulations and thank you to each of the nominees for their leadership both on and off the field."
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee's last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, 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 five current players who have won the award—DREW BREES, THOMAS DAVIS, LARRY FITZGERALD, ELI MANNING and J.J. WATT—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 2018 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.
The NFL will also continue to surprise fans across the country with invitations to attend Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. A total of 500 free tickets will be distributed as a way to give back to dedicated NFL fans and provide them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each Man of the Year nominee will receive two Super Bowl LIII tickets to give away to community recipients of their choice.
Below is a list of the 2018 nominees:
Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News
Source: AASNSports; NFL; WalterPeytonManOfTheYear
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