The legendary Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominations have been made for the 2022 season. And, the Eagles have recognized none other than defensive end, Brandon Graham.
As the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia with 13 years, the 34-year-old has made an unforgettable impact on the city, as well as on the field.
EAGLES NOMINATE BRANDON GRAHAM FOR NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
On Tuesday, Brandon Graham received his nomination for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. As he prepared for what he believed was a press conference, he entered the NovaCare complex and was met by several families who expressed their gratitude for Graham.
“That was a big surprise for me. It was an emotional day for my wife, for me, for them… I didn’t expect to see them. I know that people look up to me, but you just don’t know the moments where you’re helping them the most.”
In addition to Graham’s work with families across the nation, he is also a large part of the Eagles Autism Foundation annually. He and his wife, Carlyne also created “Team Graham” — a fund that offers resources to organizations throughout Detroit, Graham’s hometown. The organization has mentored children, facilitated football camps, and donated clothes and food to those in need.
“It’s all about the community of people. I’ve got my kids, and I know that they’re the future. So, we’ve got to pour into them even more now, so that when I’m older, our future could be a lot brighter. That was the whole reasoning behind Team Graham, working with a team of people for one common cause — whatever was dear to our heart.”
However, it doesn’t stop there. After 13 years in Philadelphia, Graham is now planning to integrate charity into the City of Brotherly Love.
“Next year, we will have a busy offseason, starting something new in Philly.”
After a day of recognition, Graham released a statement regarding his nomination, and what is means to him.
“I’m incredibly honored to be named the Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. My journey in Philadelphia over the past 13 years has been a humbling one. This city has embraced me and supported me throughout my career. It’s been a blessing to not only play in front of the best fans in the NFL, but to have the chance to give back to a community that has now become my home. I’ve cherished every moment of this journey, and I’m grateful to be recognized alongside an inspiring group of men who are making a difference in their communities.”
A LEGEND ON THE FIELD
On field and in the locker room, Graham’s positivity has also served as a bright light for his fellow teammates.
In 2010, Graham was a first-round pick. Though he didn’t become a starter until the 2015 season, Graham’s resume is booming. He became known for his strip-sack to Tom Brady during the Eagles’ first-ever Super Bowl win, is an All-Pro, and was selected for his first Pro Bowl in 2020. Graham has also played the most career regular-season games (173) by a defensive lineman in franchise history with 64.5 sacks.
After missing the 2021 season due to an injury, he returned with many stating that he was “better than ever”. In his fourth season as captain, Graham has 5.5 sacks in 12 games this year, and has been an integral part of the Eagles going 11-1.
WALTER PAYTON MAN OF THE YEAR VOTING
As a nominee, Graham will receive up to a $40,000 donation in his name to the charity of his choice. The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award will also receive up to a $250,000 donation.
Fans can vote on Twitter by using the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge followed by “Graham” or his handle @brandongraham55.
Also nominated for the award was former Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz, who now plays for the Arizona Cardinals.