Foxborough, Mass.– The New England Patriots announced today Devin McCourty as its nominee for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. 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. Each of the league's 32 nominees were announced today.
Since being drafted by the Patriots in 2010, Devin McCourty has consistently been the most active player in the community. He has been a role model to thousands of students as a spokesperson and advocate for the NFL's Play 60 program. McCourty also participates in a variety of holiday initiatives throughout the year and sponsors a holiday shopping spree for children experiencing homelessness.
Over the past few years, McCourty has traveled across the region to discuss juvenile criminal justice reform, the school-to-prison pipeline and disproportionate punishment for students of color. He has visited the Massachusetts state house and participated in panels with local law enforcement officials. Thanks to McCourty's leadership, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill in April to raise the age at which children can be charged in juvenile court from 7 to 12.
"We are very excited to nominate Devin McCourty for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "He has been a special part of our organization for nine seasons, not only for what he's been able to do on the field, but for the way he's been able to positively impact those in our communities. Devin is a natural leader and his genuine commitment to helping others is inspiring."
Over the years, McCourty has been the epitome of a leader both on and off the field. He has been elected a captain by his peers for eight consecutive years. The two-time Super Bowl champion has been selected to four Pro Bowls and is one of only three players in NFL history to earn Associated Press All-Pro honors at both cornerback and safety.
In addition to his on the field accomplishments, McCourty has also shown an incredible commitment to a cause that hits close to home – sickle cell disease. His aunt was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when he was a child and McCourty has made it his mission to support research that will one day find a cure. He and his brother Jason created the McCourty Twins Tackle Sickle Cell campaign to increase awareness, raise money for research and to offer their support to families facing the disease. He has hosted casino nights, 5k runs/walks, blood drives and visits with patients and medical professionals at local hospitals.
"I give back because my mom instilled it in me. She showed me the way by having a good heart and giving back to people," said McCourty. "She was a nurse and growing up I knew in life that I wanted to do something to give back to people. It's so much more gratifying when you can give to others and see the effect you have on them. Anyone can take a gift, but to take the time out and do something special for someone, it's a great honor."
As a nominee, McCourty will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
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.
The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will receive $500,000 to be donated in his name, half of which will directed to expand the Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program. The remaining $250,000 will be donated to the charity of the recipient's 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 a charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's fourth 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.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.