The NFL announced Thursday the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. 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 is now eligible to win the national award. The 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 great Walter Payton, the former Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back.
Among the list of players nominated were Trey Burton of the Bears, Lorenzo Alexander of the Bills and Kelvin Beachum of the Jets, all of whom have professed a faith in Christ and use their platform to serve others and point people back to Jesus.
Burton, in his first season with Chicago, has pledged to donate $1,000 per catch and $2,500 per touchdown this season to International Justice Mission, a global organization that aims to eliminate slave trade. So far, Burton has raised more than $50,000.
“God tells us at the end of James 1 to take care of the orphans and widows in their distress,” Burton told Sports Spectrum in September. “My family and I feel like God is telling us this is the fight He wants us to fight. So we are donating $1,000 a catch and $2,500 a TD to help end trafficking across the world.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 6, 2018
Beachum, an offensive lineman with the New York Jets, has made it his priority to help end world hunger. In advance of World Food Day on October 16, Beachum created a match challenge for five U.S. food banks. He planned to donate $5,000 to each of the five food banks, and would double his donation if the $5,000 was matched by community members. He ended up raising more than $70,000, which Beachum says will serve 327,000 meals.
Beachum’s heart to serve others stems from his walk with Christ. He recently shared with us how he strives to be a light for his teammates.
“I would hope that my teammates would be able to look at my life and say that I’m consistent. I believe that is the ultimate measure of a Christian man. It’s not always going to be easy; the path isn’t always going to be hunky dory. But more than anything, it’s important to be a light, to be that person others know they can talk to, pray with, lean on and trust in any situation.”
RT to help him earn $25k for the Beachum Charitable Fund 🔁 pic.twitter.com/iwaAUe1pGa
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 6, 2018
Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has been serving the community of Buffalo since his arrival in 2016. He has done numerous events in Western New York through his ACES Foundation, and has been a strong presence as a mentor to the South Park High football program.
Earlier this year, he shared how the death of his former teammate, Sean Taylor, led Lorenzo to a faith in Christ.
“I haven’t always been a believer. I gave my life to Christ right when Sean Taylor passed in 2007,” Alexander told Sports Spectrum in February 2018. “It really made me reflect on who I was and I had some other guys, James Thrash, Antwan Randal-El, our team chaplain Pastor Brett. Before that time, I wasn’t seeking God at all. I had an emptiness in my heart, I didn’t know how to fill it. But I came in contact with people who were living out the Christian faith and being evangelical about it.”
The Walter Payton Man of the year nominations is an enormous honor but without the support of my wife, children, family, friends, teammates & community the impact wouldn’t be as impactful. Thank you for making me better and providing a strong foundation to stand upon! pic.twitter.com/AqEd5QvRZZ
— Lorenzo Alexander (@onemangang97) December 6, 2018
The NFL will highlight all 32 team winners as finalists and recognize them 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 Feb. 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS.
Below is a list of the 2018 nominees:
|Arizona Cardinals||Antoine Bethea|
|Atlanta Falcons||Grady Jarrett|
|Baltimore Ravens||Brandon Carr|
|Buffalo Bills||Lorenzo Alexander|
|Carolina Panthers||Julius Peppers|
|Chicago Bears||Trey Burton|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Carlos Dunlap|
|Cleveland Browns||Christian Kirksey|
|Dallas Cowboys||Dak Prescott|
|Denver Broncos||Von Miller|
|Detroit Lions||Matthew Stafford|
|Green Bay Packers||Kenny Clark|
|Houston Texans||Whitney Mercilus|
|Indianapolis Colts||Jabaal Sheard|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Blake Bortles|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Dustin Colquitt|
|Los Angeles Chargers||Corey Liuget|
|Los Angeles Rams||Andrew Whitworth|
|Miami Dolphins||Kenny Stills|
|Minnesota Vikings||Kyle Rudolph|
|New England Patriots||Devin McCourty|
|New Orleans Saints||Mark Ingram|
|New York Giants||Michael Thomas|
|New York Jets||Kelvin Beachum|
|Oakland Raiders||Marshawn Lynch|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Chris Long|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Cameron Heyward|
|San Francisco 49ers||Robbie Gould|
|Seattle Seahawks||K.J. Wright|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Gerald McCoy|
|Tennessee Titans||Jurrell Casey|
|Washington Redskins||Vernon Davis|
– Buffalo Bills’ Lorenzo Alexander helps 57 kids get school supplies
– Bears’ Trey Burton using football to raise money for human rights organization IJM
– Jets lineman Kelvin Beachum helped raise $70K for meals on World Food Day