CHICAGO – The NFL has announced this year’s nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, and a familiar name for the Bears has made the cut.
The award, for which one player from each team is nominated, aims to recognize a player not only for his success on the field, but also his impact on the community. This year running back Matt Forte has been named the Bears’ nominee. Forte’s nomination comes just two years after a former teammate, Charles Tillman, went home with the prize.
Forte, 29, joins a list of big names such as Eli Manning of the Giants, Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals, Richard Sherman of the Seahawks, Devin McCourty of the Patriots and J.J. Watt of the Texans.
The Bears star is in his eighth season with the team and is a two-time Pro Bowler. He is set to become a free agent after the 2015-16 season.
Forte is widely regarded as one of the good guys of the NFL. According to information on his nomination:
Matt Forte founded The Matt Forte ‘What’s Your Forte?’ Foundation in 2013 to empower at-risk Chicago-area youth striving to achieve their dreams of higher education by providing mentoring, counseling, tutoring and academic scholarships. It is Matt’s mission to help youth meet their full potential.
This summer, Matt hosted his third annual Matt Forte Football ProCamp. Matt has also hosted various mentoring dinners and camps in prior years, both in Chicago and his hometown, Slidell, La.
The excerpt goes on to laud Forte for his involvement with Boys & Girls Club of America as well as the Noah’s Arc Foundation, a peace organization founded by Chicago Bulls Forward Joakim Noah.
The winner will be announced Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50. But according to NFL.com, each nominee can already call himself a winner: all 32 finalists will receive a $5,000 donation to his charity of choice.
The winner will receive an additional $50,000. The two runner-ups will receive an additional $6,000.
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award began in 1970 as the NFL Man of the Year Award. It took the name it has now in 1999 in honor of late Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.
Previous Bears who have won the award include Payton (1977), Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990), Jim Flanigan (2000) and Tillman (2013).
To see a full list of candidates and more information on each, including Forte, visit NFL.com/manoftheyear.