The New Orleans Saints have nominated tight end Benjamin Watson for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
This was commonly referred to as the NFL Man of the Year Award prior to 1999, but the unexpected passing of the great Walter Payton sparked the name change to honor his legacy. Each NFL team has a representative selected as a nominee. A panel of judges that consists of commissioner Roger Goodell, Connie Payton (widow of Walter Payton), last season’s winner, and a host of former players all select the winner.
- 2014 – Thomas Davis, Carolina Panthers
- 2013 – Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears
- 2012 – Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
- 2011 – Matt Birk, Baltimore Ravens
- 2010 – Madieu Williams, Minnesota Vikings
Drew Brees, who is the only Saints player to receive the actual award, shared the honor with San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
Each nominee is awarded a donation of $1,000 in their name to award to their charity of choice, and the winner is awarded $25,000 to do the same thing.
Benjamin Watson has performed extensive work with his foundation, called One More, since January 2008. The foundation, which focuses on carrying the love of Christ to members of the community which need it most, has one simple mission: be a blessing to those around us wherever we are. They focus on delivering that through individual programs of their own or helping existing charities.
Watson recently released his book in November called Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race–and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. Watson has been a strong presence on social media that has spoken up about the events of Ferguson, Charleston, and the Confederate Flag. He’s offered a unique perspective that can’t be ignored.