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Browns name Joel Bitonio as 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year

Veteran offensive guard honored for his dedication to the community and performance on the field.

Cleveland Browns v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns selected Joel Bitonio as their 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee on Tuesday.

The award, which was created in 1970 and renamed for former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton in 1999, is the NFL’s most prestigious honor and recognizes one member from each of the league’s 32 franchises for their exceptional performance on the field and their dedication off the field to the community.

Bitonio has been with the Browns since being selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, making him the longest-tenured player on the team.

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Off the field, Bitonio and his wife, Courtney, have donated their time and money to numerous organizations, including being ambassadors for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Joel taking on the role of co-chair for the annual Taste of the Browns fundraising event in support of the food bank.

Bitonio has also participated in a Shop with a Pro event every year he has been with the Browns, and personally funded the night for Northeast Ohio children for the past five years.

This year, Bitonio has worked to raise awareness for A Kid Again Ohio, which works to create hope, happiness, and healing for children with life-threatening conditions and their families, according to He hosted a group of families during training camp this past summer and has supported the organization through the league’s My Cause, My Cleats program.

Bitonio said his desire to give back to the community is something that his parents instilled in him while growing up, according to the team’s website:

“I have been part of the Cleveland community for nine years now. [Giving back] is just something that my mom and my dad instilled in me to take care of the people that take care of you. This community has always taken care of me. No matter where you are in life, you can lend a helping hand, be part of the community and give back, and a lot of times, you give back to help somebody, but those interactions fill you up, as well.

“I look back on my upbringing and the coaches and the people who have been part of my life growing up, and I think it is just a cumulative, ‘Thank you.’ I appreciate it, and let’s see what else we can do to help the community.”

Bitonio will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season and be recognized along with the other 31 team winners during the weekend prior to Super Bowl LVI. The 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors.Each nominee receives up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice, and the winner receives up to a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice.

Learn more about the Walter Payton Man of the Year program and nominees by visiting