Record 4 Tide Alumni Nominated for Walter Payton Man OTY Award
All 32 NFL franchises have announced their nominees for Walter Payton Man of the Year and among the nominees are a record four former Alabama Crimson Tide players: Bradley Bozeman of the Baltimore Ravens, Jonathan Allen of the Washington Football Team, and first-time nominees Quinnen Williams of the New York Jets and Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is considered one of the highest honors in the NFL and is awarded for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
Bradley Bozeman, Baltimore Ravens Center
For the second consecutive season, the Baltimore Ravens have nominated Bradley Bozeman for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Bozeman and his wife, Nikki, have made a mission to root out bullying through their foundation, the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Bozemans were unable to take full advantage of their efforts since they couldn't travel to schools in person. They found other ways to help, though, providing meals for at-risk youth in the Baltimore area and allowing their anti-bullying messages to be spoken through that avenue.
On the field, Bozeman made the move to center for the 2021 season and has started all 12 games for the Ravens. The move allowed Baltimore, which has seen as many as nine different running backs handle the ball this season, to maintain a per-game average that ranks third in the NFL.
For more information on the Bradley & Nikki Bozeman Foundation, please visit:
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans Running Back
For the first time in his career, former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry has been nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award by the Tennessee Titans.
"The Walter Payton Man of the Year is a special honor and I'm truly humbled to be the Titans' nominee," Henry said. "Helping others in need is something I hold close to my heart, and I'm fortunate to be able to help level the playing field for today's youth through my foundation, the Two All Foundation. It is a blessing to be a blessing."
Henry has used multiple avenues and opportunities to give back to those in need. He made a $10,000 donation to a Nashville firefighter who lost his home to a fire and $20,000 to CORE Response to support their relief efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in August.
He also gave back to students in his hometown, Yulee, Florida, as well as Nashville with the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee to provide school supplies and other necessities for students and teachers alike.
As a player, Henry has had to miss a significant amount of time with a football injury. Remarkably, Henry still ranks third in rushing in the NFL with 937 yards despite having not played a snap in five weeks.
Jonathan Allen, Washington Football Team Defensive Lineman
For the second consecutive season, the Washington Football Team has nominated defensive lineman Jonathan Allen for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award as he continues to work with Sasha Bruce Youthworks (SBY) to combat homelessness among youth.
Allen and his wife Hannah have taken a further step to aid the D.C. area directly by donating $3 million to local charities over the remainder of his career with the Washington Football Team.
On the field, Allen continues to prove he's one of the NFL's best interior defensive linemen. He's on pace for a career season with 6.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss through 12 games (his high was eight sacks and 11 TFLs in 2018.).
Quinnen Williams, New York Jets Defensive Lineman
For the first time in his young career, Quinnen Williams has been nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award by the New York Jets. The defensive lineman started the Quinnen Williams Foundation to combat poverty and has made a strong start early in his career.
Every year Williams's foundation helps 100 single-parent families in the Birmingham area by giving $50,000 worth of gifts and necessities with plans to soon expand to the New Jersey area as well. Birmingham students are also provided opportunities through The Williams Scholarship grant.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the Jets organization for such a prestigious nomination," said Quinnen. "I have always believed that the work and effort displayed on-field should replicate the passions for community service a player has off the field. Working with the American Cancer Society and creating the Quinnen Williams Foundation are two of my proudest and most significant achievements in my career."
Williams is also heavily involved in the NFL and New York Jets's efforts in the Crucial Catch program as an ambassador of the American Cancer Society. Williams lost his mother to breast cancer and so he visited five breast cancer survivors before the Jets Crucial Catch game in early October to lend his support. He also has virtually visited with pediatric cancer patients and sent gifts such as hats, autographed footballs and Jets tickets.
On the field, Williams has really come into his own. He'll likely surpass his 2020 season totals in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks by the end of the year. Currently, he has 46 tackles, six for loss and six sacks.
Each Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee will wear a decal depicting the trophy on the back of his helmet for the remainder of the season.
From the NFL's press release, "all 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide." The winner will be announced at the annual NFL Honors award show and will be recognized at the Super Bowl.
'Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 7th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third-place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear'
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