The NFL announced today the 32 team nominees for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. 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. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field and is among the league's most prestigious awards.
Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists for the award, named for Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, WALTER PAYTON, who died in 1999. Finalists will be announced in January 2017.
The winner will be announced in Houston at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 4, the night before Super Bowl LI, from 8-10 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX.
"We're proud to honor these outstanding men who represent the NFL's best on and off the field," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "Our players have a unique platform to make a difference far beyond the field of play. We salute these individuals who are exemplary in their commitment to making a positive impact in communities across the globe through their dedicated service and philanthropic efforts."
"There are so many wonderful stories about the work these men are doing in their communities," said Nationwide's Chief Marketing Officer TERRANCE WILLIAMS. "Nationwide is proud to shine a national spotlight on the difference that these 32 individuals are making in the lives of others. We congratulate this year's nominees and thank them for their leadership."
This year, in addition to a donation to a charity of his choice, each nominee will also receive a donation in his name to implement the NFL and United Way's Character Playbook Program in his club's market. Character Playbook, launched in April at the NFL Draft, is a national education initiative focused on youth character development and healthy relationships. This interactive digital program uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years with a focus on positive character development and social-emotional learning.
As a result of the enhanced contributions, a total of $1 million will be donated in the name of the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets. The two finalists will each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice and a $125,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook and the additional 29 team winners will receive a $50,000 donation to their charity of choice and an additional $50,000 donation in their name to implement Character Playbook in their club market. Donations will be courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
To further celebrate and promote the 32 nominees, Nationwide, the presenting sponsor of the Award, will host the second annual Charity Challenge. As part of the social media challenge, each nominee will have a unique hashtag, and fans will be encouraged to tweet using the player hashtags. The player hashtag that generates the most mentions will win an additional $25,000 donation to his charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide.
For more information on the team nominees and the award, visit **NFL.com/manoftheyear**.
Below is a list of team nominees:
2016 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR TEAM NOMINEES
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan
Baltimore Ravens: Steve Smith Sr.
Buffalo Bills: Eric Wood
Carolina Panthers: Greg Olsen
Chicago Bears: Sam Acho
Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton
Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas
Dallas Cowboys: Sean Lee
Denver Broncos: Virgil Green
Detroit Lions: Don Carey
Green Bay Packers: Jayrone Elliott
Houston Texans: Brian Cushing
Indianapolis Colts: Joe Reitz
Jacksonville Jaguars: Julius Thomas
Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith
Los Angeles Rams: Johnny Hekker
Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey
Minnesota Vikings: Chad Greenway
New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski
New Orleans Saints: Roman Harper
New York Giants: Eli Manning
New York Jets: Brandon Marshall
Oakland Raiders: Dan Williams
Philadelphia Eagles: Jon Dorenbos
Pittsburgh Steelers: Arthur Moats
San Diego Chargers: Jeremiah Attaochu
San Francisco 49ers: Torrey Smith
Seattle Seahawks: Cliff Avril
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vincent Jackson
Tennessee Titans: Jurrell Casey
Washington Redskins: Pierre Garçon