FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that wide receiver Troy Brown has been named the team's 2002 Man of the Year for his ongoing contributions to the team, both on the field and in the community. He now qualifies as a candidate for the league's Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year Award. The winner will be selected by a national panel and announced during the week of Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. The winner will receive $25,000 for donation to his favorite charity. NFL Charities will also provide a $1,000 charity donation in the name of each of the 32 finalists.
This season, Brown was selected as one of the national spokesmen for United Way and has contributed to several local and national charitable causes. His outreach efforts have included visits to area schools, celebrity fund-raising efforts and programs that combat domestic violence, including the Boston-based R.O.S.E. (Regaining One's Self Esteem) Fund. Throughout his NFL career, he has offered support to many charitable causes, not only in New England, but also in his offseason home of West Virginia and his native South Carolinian communities. This past summer, he hosted a youth football camp at Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I. and on October 18, he was inducted into his alma mater's Hall of Fame.
He was voted a team co-captain in 2002 and, despite missing two games due to injury, Brown still leads the team with 76 receptions for 715 yards. He is averaging 7.6 receptions per game and is on a pace to break the franchise record of 101 receptions that he recorded last season. An eighth round draft choice in 1993, the 5-foot-10-inch, 193-pound receiver became the first player in franchise history to record 100 receptions in a single season and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl after helping propel the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title. On Sept. 22, 2002, he set another franchise record with 16 receptions and a career-high 176 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition, he continues to handle the team's punt returning responsibilities and is the team's career leader with 2,079 yards.
In 1999, the league re-named the NFL Man of the Year Award after the late Walter Payton as a tribute to his greatest, both on and off the field. Walter Payton was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on January 30, 1993. The list of previous Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year winners includes many of the league's greatest players, like Steve Largent, John Elway and Troy Aikman. Nine NFL Man of the Year winners later were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.