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Trey Burton, Kelvin Beachum, Lorenzo Alexander among nominees for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

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.”

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.”

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 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:

TEAM NOMINEE
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

 

RELATED STORIES:
– 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