Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive End Calais Campbell was named the 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, the league announced on Saturday.
Considered the league’s most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON. The announcement was made during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special held at Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami in that will air nationally at 8 PM (ET and PT) on FOX tonight.
For the second time ever, prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LIV, all 32 Man of the Year nominees will be recognized on-field, as a testament to each of their contributions to the game and to their communities. The Man of the Year Nominee Pregame Moment will include the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Philadelphia Eagles Legend CHRIS LONG, handing the award off to Campbell as he is introduced as the 2019 recipient.
“Calais Campbell’s impact extends far beyond the field, into communities throughout Phoenix, Jacksonville and beyond,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “During his 12 seasons in the league, he has been a tremendous role model for the youth he serves through his CRC Foundation and is incredibly deserving of the league’s most prestigious honor.”
“Campbell is an inspiration to us all. He’s an awesome leader on and off the field, using his time and talent to make a positive difference for others,” said Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer RAMON JONES. “Nationwide congratulates Campbell on being selected among the best-of-the-best for this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.”
This was the third time in Campbell has been named his team’s Man of the Year, receiving the Arizona Cardinals’ nomination for the award in both 2011 and 2014. Campbell has been selected for the Pro Bowl four times and was named the 2020 Pro Bowl Defensive MVP. In 2009, Campbell formed the CRC Foundation alongside his mother Natea and has engaged in numerous charitable initiatives throughout his 12-year NFL career. The CRC Foundation, which is named for his late father, Charles, who passed away in 2003, is committed to the enhancement of the community through the teaching of critical life skills to young people. Through sports, creative talents, vocational skills, financial skills and quality health and nutrition, the CRC Foundation is dedicated to developing young people into empowered and self-aware leaders for the future.
This season, Campbell started Season of Giving, a fundraising campaign based on his on-field performance. Campbell pledged a specific dollar amount for several metrics: $1,000 for a Jaguars win, $5,00 for a sack, $2500 for half of sack, $2000 for a tackle for loss and $10,00 for a blocked kick/turnover. The CRC Foundation chose four deserving charities as part of his Season of Giving, with funds going to Feeding Northeast Florida in September, the Clara White Mission in October, the Wounded Warrior Project in November and United Way in December. Prior to the return to his hometown when the Jaguars faced the Broncos on Sept. 29, 2019, Calais donated an additional $5,000 each to several Denver-based charities: the Beckwourth Outdoor Education, Denver Police Athletic League, Hiawatha Davis Rec Center and the Rose Andom Center.
Campbell was the 2018 recipient of the Bart Starr Award, given annually to the NFL player who exemplifies character and leadership on and off the field and the winner of the 2015 Pop Warner Humanitarian Award. He annually hosts Christmas with Calais, a holiday shopping spree for local kids who have completed extra lessons in financial literacy and donates meals during Thanksgiving to families in need. Campbell has also dedicated time and resources to the Ronald McDonald House, the benefactor of his foundation’s bowling event in 2018.
In the spring of 2018, Campbell hosted a coding camp alongside Microsoft and the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida, providing 25 kids with the chance to learn more about career opportunities in technology. In June 2019, he welcomed 250 kids at the Calais Campbell JaxPAL Youth Football and STEM Camp, combining his football acumen and interest in mentoring today’s youth through education. Campbell has also made semi-weekly visits to Northwestern Middle School as part of his CRC Book Club, fostering a reading-friendly community at an underperforming school in Downtown Jacksonville. Additionally, he makes appearances at colleges and high schools around Northeast Florida, to offer encouragement to students and have open conversations about social justice issues.
Campbell will receive a donation of $250,000, which will go to a charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.