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Eli Manning named finalist for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award


*The NFL has announced the finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide: *

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For the second year in a row, Giants quarterback Eli Manning is one of three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

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The 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.

The other finalists are Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.

The winner will be announced during the Fifth Annual NFL Honors awards show, a two-hour primetime special airing nationally on Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50, from 9-11 p.m. ET on CBS.

Then San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin was the 2015 Man of the Year. The third finalist was New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson.

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.

"Larry, Eli and Greg are not only top-tier athletes, but also men of great character, integrity and generosity of spirit," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Their passion for community and helping others is having a positive impact on countless individuals and communities, and it's something we should all celebrate. We commend these impressive men for setting the standard for NFL players and athletes nationwide."

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

Manning has been of the Giants' – and the NFL's – most active players in the community since his rookie season in 2004.

Championing causes that involve children has always been a priority for Manning, and that goal has intensified now that he is the father of three young daughters.

Manning has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past seven years, joining thousands of New Yorkers in the walk in support of March of Dimes. Providing additional access for top sponsors, engaging donors and raising awareness of the organization's platform, Manning's efforts with March for Babies helped raise more than $25 million over the past seven years. He also spearheads "Tackle Kids' Cancer," an initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center. Prior to kicking off an extensive media campaign to raise awareness of this cause, Manning spent time with patients and doctors at the hospital's pediatric cancer center, learning more about the greatest needs in cancer research.

When he realized the state of Mississippi – where he attended college and still owns a home – had only one children's hospital in Mississippi, Manning and his wife founded the Eli and Abby Manning Children's Clinics in 2007. They kicked off a five-year fundraising campaign that raised almost $3 million in five years. Building on that accomplishment and model, they also created the University of Mississippi Medical Center Manning Family Fund, which received close to $1.5 million in its first year in 2015.

In addition to his work on behalf of children, Manning devotes his time and resources to numerous other initiatives, both in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, and on a national level. They include working with the American Red Cross, including collecting and filling an airplane with supplies to fly down to New Orleans to in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and working on an emergency response vehicle in the days after superstorm Sandy; his nearly 10-year relationship with and commitment to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that trains guide dogs; his participation in the No More campaign his contribution to Operation Smile's NYC gala; his scholarship endowment at the University of Mississippi; and his fulfillment of numerous Make-A-Wish and Wounded Warrior experiences.

.@Aquafina All-Access: Eli Manning hosts kids from @TackleKidsCancr to sign his cleats for #MyCauseMyCleats!

— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2016

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