The annual Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is given out to one NFL player each year in honor of their off-the-field volunteer or charity work.
In what I think is the most prestigious award in pro football, outshining the NFL MVP award, the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is given to the NFL player with the most outstanding off-the-field work. Each of the 32 teams nominate a player for the award. The Indianapolis Colts have nominated defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
Sheard is a perfect example of outstanding work on the field and off of it, like many of the past recipients have shown. Sheard is always volunteering at Colts community events and even has his own charity, the Jabaal Sheard Foundation, which provides less fortunate at-risk kids with outreach programs in terms of education and a healthy lifestyle.
Sheard even visited Portugal this season in the American Football Without Barriers program, where he spent time with youth in a detention center, helped build a playground, and even started a mentoring group for troubled youth in the area. Sheard also helped establish the Breaking Barriers, a social justice program for the Indianapolis Colts.
The winner of the Man of the Year awards wins $250,000 for the charity of their choice, as well as recognition at the Super Bowl and presentation of the Walter Payton trophy. Prior winners include Larry Fitzgerald, J.J. Watt, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning. Each of these current players get a permanent Walter Payton Man of the Year patch on their jerseys to wear for the rest of their career.
For an entire list of all 32 nominees and previous winners, and to learn more about the award, visit the official website of the award here.