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NFL awards: Anthony Walker nominated for prestigious award

Walter Payton Man of the Year is awarded to one of 32 players

Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The NFL announced their 32 players for the annual Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. LB Anthony Walker will represent the Cleveland Browns.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide, is the league’s most prestigious honor and acknowledges NFL players who excel on the field and demonstrate a passion for creating a lasting positive impact beyond the game.

“The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award is the league’s most prestigious honor given annually to the player who best represents the greatness and compassion of Walter Payton on and off the field,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “These 32 outstanding men are making a valuable difference in their communities every day and we are proud to celebrate their special gifts and humanitarianism.”

Each nominee will receive $55,000 and the winner will get a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The award honors a player’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, as well as his excellence on the field. The winner will be announced during the NFL Honors program on Thursday, Feb 8.

Walker became an important figure in the Browns’ Stay In The Game, the flagship program of the Cleveland Browns Foundation. This program helps fight chronic absenteeism in local schools. Back in September, Walker hosted a Back to School event at Shaker Heights Middle School where he distributed over 100 backpacks and school supplies to students with an ice cream social afterward.

He awarded students in the program with a Thanksgiving meal and a Turkey Bowl tournament. His “My Cause, My Cleats” also was dedicated to this organization.

With his nomination, Walker will wear a Walter Payton Man of the Year decal on his helmet.

Several players on this roster have been nominated for this award in the past. DT Dalvin Tomlinson was nominated when he was a member of the New York Football Giants. Last year, LG Joel Bitonio was Cleveland’s representative.

The only winner of the award for the Browns franchise is QB Len Dawson who took home the award in 1973. At the time of his winning this distinction, Dawson was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs but played for Cleveland from 1960-1961.

Before 1999, the award was called “The NFL Man of the Year Award.” Then after Chicago Bears RB Walton Payton passed away, the league decided to honor his legacy by naming his award after him.

A panel of judges, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the previous year’s winner, and several former players, select the award winner. Last year’s winner was QB Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys.

AFC North representatives include LB Roquan Smith from the Baltimore Ravens, C Ted Karras with the Cincinnati Bengals, and DT Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Previous winners who are currently active in the league wear a patch depicting the trophy on their uniforms for the rest of their NFL careers.