Giants QB Eli Manning is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning is thrilled to be a repeat finalist for the NFL's most prestigious award for off-field endeavors.
"It's an honor to be selected as the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the New York Giants," Manning said this week, "and to be one of the three finalists, along with Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Olsen, two guys I have great respect for on and off the field. It's truly an honor.
"Anytime you're associated in the same breath with Walter Payton, it's tremendous.'
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes an NFL player for excellence on and off the field. It was established in 1970, and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.
Each NFL team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact in his community.
Manning; Fitzgerald, the Arizona Cardinals' wide receiver; and Olsen, the Carolina Panthers' tight end, were announced as the finalists on Sunday during halftime of Atlanta's victory over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. The winner will be announced during the Fifth Annual NFL Honors awards show, a two-hour primetime special airing nationally on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI, at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Last year, Manning was one of the three finalists, with wide receiver Anquan Boldin (then with San Francisco, now with Detroit) and tight end Ben Watson (then with New Orleans, now with Baltimore). Boldin was selected the Man of the Year.
If Manning wins, he will be the first Giants player to be selected the NFL Man of the Year in the award's 47-year history. Manning was also named the Giants' Man of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
As his numerous selections indicate, Manning has immersed himself in a wide range of charitable and community endeavors in his 13 seasons with the Giants. They include, but are not limited to, his work as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past seven years (when he has joined thousands of New York-area citizens in the walk in support of March of Dimes), the American Red Cross, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, spearheading the "Tackle Kids' Cancer" initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center, and his raising money for and founding the Eli and Abby Manning Children's Clinics at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Miss.
And while he is pleased to be a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award finalist, Manning would be just as happy if no one noticed the many hours he spends enriching the lives of others.
"You don't do any of these charitable (works) or try to help people to get recognized," Manning said. "You do it because you truly care and you want to make a difference in people's lives and in our community. But to be recognized and know that people do notice your work is nice.
"I really appreciate the Giants supporting me in the community, and the people who help out with my charities. I get tremendous support from the Giants, and I appreciate all their help as well."
A total of $1 million will be donated in the name of the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets. The two runners-up will each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice and a $125,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook. The other 29 team finalists received a $50,000 donation to both a charity of their choice and to expand Character Playbook. Donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
The Character Playbook, the NFL's newest charitable initiative, was launched last spring and focuses on helping youth develop healthy relationships and great character.
Photos of Giants QB Eli Manning making a difference in the community