Philadelphia’s week-to-week performances may be unclear, but what’s not was the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of Year award. Earlier this week, the Eagles named center Jason Kelce as their candidate for the 2021 season.
The award, given out each year, allows one player from every NFL team to be selected as a nominee. Named after former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, the honor is given to a player who excels within their community. Since its initiation in 1970, three Eagles’ players have been awarded Man of the Year. The most recent being Chris Long.
A WELL-DESERVED NOMINATION
Jason Kelce is, without a doubt, a legend on the football field. As a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, he has been selected to four Pro Bowls, named an All-Pro center three times, and is a Super Bowl champion.
The center has ranked first among those at his position from 2017-2019, ranking second this year. Kelce has also played in 118 consecutive games for the Eagles, and thankfully, despite many rumors regarding retirement, has decided to keep returning.
Off of the field, Kelce is the same man — humble, practical, and charitable.
Owner Jeffrey Lurie stated, “Jason Kelce is a man of character and honor who embodies everything that is great about the game of football. Jason is a leader on and off the field who relentlessly attacks life with a tenacious sense of loyalty, selflessness, and grit. He pours his heart and soul into the game and does it all for his team, this city, and our fans. Away from the game, Jason has become a passionate advocate for autism awareness and research through the Eagles Autism Foundation and has dedicated his time to assisting various organizations and non-profits in need. Jason is the ultimate pro who has solidified his rightful place as one of the most beloved athletes in the great sports history of Philadelphia.”
Since the beginning of his career in Philadelphia 11 years ago, he has volunteered at organizations including the Eagles Charitable Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Bringing Hope Home, and Liberty USO. Most recently, Kelce bought his liveliness to the shore, raising money for the Eagles Autism Foundation. Bartending on a Wednesday afternoon in Sea Isle City, he raised $50,000. He and his wife Kylie (an autism support teacher) then matched the donation following the event.
Following the nomination, Jason Kelce stated, “To be named the Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year is an incredible honor. I’ve been blessed to come to work every day for the past 11 years doing what I love for a team and city that means the world to me. The Eagles organization is family, and this city is home. It’s a humbling experience to be recognized alongside men around the league who are making a difference in their communities.”
“I’m just who I am, and I think that if you’re genuine, that is always going to serve you well,” Kelce said. “This is my home, and I’m going to give back as much as I can, and if I can make a positive difference in someone’s life, that means everything to me.”
FANS CAN ALSO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner will receive $250,000 donated to the charity of their choice. The remaining nominees will receive $40,000 to their charity of choice.
Philadelphia fans can help Jason Kelce by posting on Twitter using #WPMOYChallenge followed by “Kelce” and/or his Twitter handle between December 7 and January 17. The nominee who receives the most hashtag mentions will receive a $25,000 donation from Nationwide to their charity of choice. The second and third place winners will receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.
Votes will count double on January 4 and 5.
The first nominee to reach one million votes will receive an additional $10,000.