JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn was honored Friday as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his ``Homes For The Holiday'' program, which helps single mothers become first-time homeowners.
Dunn rushed for 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns this season, helping the NFC South champion Falcons reach the NFC championship game, where they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dunn launched his community service program during his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997. So far, he has assisted 52 singles mothers by making the down payments for fully furnished homes in Atlanta, Tampa and Baton Rouge, La.
The motivation for the program stems from the death of Dunn's mother, Betty Smothers, a single parent and Baton Rouge police officer killed in the line of duty in 1993. Dunn was 18 at the time and left to care for five brothers and sisters.