The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is often described as the NFL’s most prestigious award. It recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field.
Established in 1970. It was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.
Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, 32 players are selected as their team’s Man of the Year and become eligible to win the national award.
For the second year in a row, the Washington Football Team has nominated team captain and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen for the prestigious award.
Allen was drafted by Washington 17th overall in the 2017 draft out of Alabama; in his four years with the team, he has been a force on the field and a leader in the locker room, as well as being active in the local community.
Though Jonathan Allen played collegiately at Alabama, the state in which he was born, he grew up just 10 minutes from the Redskins facility in Loudon County, Va., and was raised to root for the Redskins. However, in his youth, Allen faced some tough times along with his family.
When divorce split his biological parents and military obligations sent his father overseas, Allen and his brother, Richard III, found themselves in the care of their mother. After moving from hotel to hotel and missing countless days of school, the brothers were placed in foster care.
This season, in Week 13, players across the league participated in My Cause, My Cleats, which allows players and others connected to the NFL to support specific social causes by raising both awareness and money by wearing custom-designed cleats during the game.
Jonathan Allen chose to support Impact 22, a community program that focuses on education, nourishment, empowerment, family values and sports for young people.
If you would like to bid on the cleats worn by Jonathan Allen or any of the other 14 players and coaches for Sunday’s victory over the Raiders in Las Vegas, you can CLICK HERE to visit the team website. The auction will close on Monday, December 13th at 5:00PM ET.
Jonathan Allen and his wife Hannah are probably best known for their ongoing support of Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a cause that has been a longstanding passion for both of them. Sasha Bruce Youthwork is one of the largest and most experienced providers of services to youth in Washington, DC. Sasha Bruce helps young people find safe homes, achieve and maintain good physical and mental health, create and strengthen supportive and stable families, and explore opportunities in education and careers.
The Washington Football Team has a lot of information about Jonathan Allens’ efforts to make a positive impact on the local community.
“He’s not just being invited to do a volunteer event, showing up and giving money and leaving and never going back,” Hannah said. “He’s doing it because he wants to be there, and he wants to put everything he has in what he’s doing.”
That kind of commitment is why Allen has been chosen as Washington’s nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide. Considered the League’s most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes NFL players who have not only exhibited excellence on-the-field, but whose passion to impact lives extends beyond the game and has led them to leave a positive legacy in their communities.
“Jonathan is probably one of the most focused and determined individuals I’ve ever met,” Jonathan’s father, Richard Allen Jr., said of his son. “He’s very compassionate and has sympathy for people.”
“As I was last year, I am tremendously humbled to be selected as the Washington Football Team’s selection as the Walter Payton Man of the Year,” Jonathan said. “My favorite part about this honor is that it allows me to help even more people, which is truly my ultimate mission.”
Much of Jonathan and Hannah’s time and financial contributions have been spent on providing resources to Sasha Bruce Youthworks (SBY), which is a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. Allen spent a portion of his children in the foster care system, so he knows better than most what kids at Sasha Bruce are going through.
“We not only wanted to give money and resources; we also wanted to give time,” Allen said in a first-person story on NFL.com. “Because at the end of the day, kids who are going through trauma need to know — and should know — people are in their corner.”
The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award each year sees $250,000 donated to the winner’s charity of choice. All other 31 nominees receive up to $50,000 donated to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Also, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide Charity Challenge further celebrates and encourages fan support of the 32 Man of the Year nominees. Fans are encouraged to post on Twitter using #WPMOYChallenge followed by the nominee’s last name and/or his Twitter handle between December 7th and January 17th.
The nominee who receives the most hashtag mentions will receive a $25,000 donation from Nationwide to his charity of choice. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations from Nationwide respectively.