Jason Kelce nominated for prestigious Walter Payton Award


Jason Kelce is this year's Eagles nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given annually to the NFL player who makes the most significant and meaningful impact in his community.

Kelce, a Philadelphia legend now in his 11th year with the Eagles, has been a tireless advocate for the Eagles Autism Foundation and the annual Eagles Autism Challenge and has worked to promote and support all the activities and fundraisers the Eagles have held to raise money to research autism. 

From raising money by bartending in Sea Isle City to playing "Fly Eagles Fly" on the saxophone with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Kelce has found creative and fun ways to raise money for the Eagles' signature charity.

He's also volunteered for numerous other charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and Bringing Hope Home. He's a board member of former Eagle Connor Barwin's Philadelphia-based Make the World Better foundation, which works within the city to revitalize playgrounds, parks and other public spaces.

"To be named the Eagles' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year is an incredible honor," Kelce said. "I've been blessed to come to work every day for the past 11 years doing what I love for a team and city that means the world to me. The Eagles organization is family and this city is home.

"It's a humbling experience to be recognized alongside men around the league who are making a difference in their communities."

Kelce is a three-time 1st-team all-pro and a four-time Pro Bowler, not to mention Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl parade hero.

He's started 118 consecutive games, the longest current streak among interior offensive linemen. He hasn't missed a game since the middle of the 2014 season.

"Jason Kelce is a man of character and honor who embodies everything that is great about the game of football," owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. "Jason is a leader on and off the field who relentlessly attacks life with a tenacious sense of loyalty, selflessness and grit. He pours his heart and soul into the game and does it all for his team, this city and our fans. 

"Away from the game, Jason has become a passionate advocate for autism awareness and research through the Eagles Autism Foundation and has dedicated his time to assisting various organizations and non-profits in need. Jason is the ultimate pro who has solidified his rightful place as one of the most beloved athletes in the great sports history of Philadelphia."

All 32 NFL teams nominate a player for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and the winner receives $250,000 to donate to the charity of his choice. All 31 other nominees receive $40,000. The winner will be announced on Feb. 10, the Thursday before the Super Bowl.

A separate fan vote -- which does not affect the final Walter Payton winner but will raise more money to be donated to charity -- will be held on Twitter. The player with the most votes will receive $25,000 for their charity of choice and the next two finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000. Fans can vote by tweeting the word Kelce with the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge by Jan. 17, 2022.

Three Eagles nominees have gone on to win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award: Harold Carmichael in 1980, Troy Vincent in 2002 and Chris Long in 2018. Former Eagle Cris Carter won representing the Vikings in 1999.

The award, called the NFL Man of the Year Award from its inception in 1970 through 1998, was renamed after Payton's death in 1999.

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