NFL Honors: Rams’ Andrew Whitworth wins 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, an award that honors a player’s volunteer and charitable work as well as excellence on the field. Whitworth, who will face his former team in Super Bowl LVI, received the award during Thursday NFL Honors ceremony in Los Angeles.
The 40- and 16-year-old veteran was one of 32 nominees from every NFL team. Whitworth received a donation of $250,000 in her name to the charity of her choice. The other 31 finalists each received $50,000 to a charity of their choice.
Whitworth’s charitable work includes his foundation, the Big Whit Foundation 77, is on a mission to impact the lives of young people and families in local communities. Through the foundation, the White’s Warriors Scholarship Program has awarded more than $550,000 in scholarships and school supplies.
“From the start of his career, Andrew Whitworth has been dedicated to making a lasting impact in his communities and his teams,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.. “During his five seasons in Los Angeles, he dedicated his time and resources to social justice efforts that seek to address food insecurity, homelessness, and educational inequity, including a donating $160,000 this year through his ‘Big Whit For LA Program for Families. These are just a few examples of the vast philanthropic legacy that Andrew has created. He is incredibly deserving of this prestigious award and we are proud to naming him Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year this year.
Since 2017, previous winners who are still playing wear a crest on their shirt representing the trophy for the rest of their career. JJ Watt, Calais Campbell and Russell Wilson are the other active players who have won the award. The trophy is a capped lineman modeled after former offensive lineman Steve Wright, who won three world championships with the Packers, including Super Bowls I and II.
A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Whitworth spent his first 11 years with the Bengals, the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI opponent. Whitworth signed with the Rams in 2017. All-Pro in his first season in Los Angeles, Whitworth helped the Rams qualify for Super Bowl LIII at the end of the 2018 season. Whitworth hopes to cap his career with a victory Sunday.
Payton’s name was added to the award after his death in 1999. One of the greatest players in NFL history, Payton retired after the 1987 season as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. NFL with 1,726 yards. The driving force behind the Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl victory in 1985, Payton’s legacy continues throughout the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation.