Eagles legend Brandon Graham has been nominated for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which annually recognizes an NFL player for community service contributions as well as on-field play.
The 34-year-old Graham, as the Eagles’ nominee, is one of 32 across the NFL.
“I’m incredibly honored to be named the Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year,” Graham said in a statement released by the team. “My journey in Philadelphia over the past 13 years has been a humbling one. This city has embraced me and supported me throughout my career.
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“It’s been a blessing to not only play in front of the best fans in the NFL, but to have the chance to give back to a community that has now become my home. I’ve cherished every moment of this journey, and I’m grateful to be recognized alongside an inspiring group of men who are making a difference in their communities.”
Arriving as a first-round pick in 2010, Graham is in his 13th season with the Eagles and is the longest-tenured professional athlete in the city.
Graham didn’t become a full-time starter until the 2015 season but played at a really high level for many years, becoming a hero in Super Bowl LII for his strip-sack on Tom Brady. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2020.
In his long career with the Eagles, Graham is fourth in franchise history in sacks with 64 1/2. And even though he’s a rotational player in 2022 after returning from an Achilles injury, Graham is still playing well and has 5 1/2 sacks through 12 games.
But it’s Graham’s attitude and service off the field that have made him such a favorite.
Graham’s fund, Team Graham, gives resources to organizations and causes in his hometown of Detroit. And Team Graham also mentors children and provides clothes and food to families in need. Graham is also a participant in the Eagles Autism Foundation and volunteers his time with March of Dimes, Make a Wish, Ronald McDonald House, American Heart Association and Liberty USO.
And anyone who has ever had a chance to meet Graham out and about in Philadelphia, know how much fan interactions mean to him.
“Throughout his career, Brandon has exemplified everything it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “His relentless passion and commitment to making a difference, not only on the football field, but in the community is inspiring. A fierce competitor on the field, Brandon pours his heart and soul into the game for his team, city and fans.
“He’s beloved not just for the way he’s persevered through adversity, but because of the way he embraces everyone he meets with such kindness and love. His infectious personality radiates throughout our entire building, and it’s certainly touched the lives of many across the world. We are incredibly lucky to have had him as an Eagle for the past 13 years and are thrilled that he is our Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.”
All 32 nominees for the 2022 Man of the Year Award will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to a charity of their choice. And the winner of the award will receive up to a $250,000 donation to a charity of their choice. Donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Fans can vote for Graham on Twitter by using the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge followed by “Graham” or his handle @brandongraham55 anywhere within the tweet. The player whose mention is used most will receive an additional $25,000 donation to a charity of their choice, while second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, respectively.
As the Eagles’ nominee for the award, Graham will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year decal on his helmet for the remainder of the season.
Graham’s former teammate, Zach Ertz, is the Cardinals’ nominee this year. Much of Ertz’s charity work takes place in Philadelphia. He and his wife Julie have been creating the House of Hope in North Philadelphia to give kids a safe space after school.
Since the award began in 1970, the Eagles have had three players win the Man of the Year Award: Chris Long (2018), Troy Vincent (2002), Harold Carmichael (1980).
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