Eagles’ longtime right tackle Lane Johnson has been nominated for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which annually recognizes one NFL player for community service contributions as well as on-field play.
Johnson, 33, is one of 32 nominees for the award, which will be handed out on Feb. 8 during NFL Honors.
Not only has Johnson been one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL for quite a while but in recent years he has opened up about his mental health and has shown a commitment to mental health advocacy.
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“I’m incredibly honored to be named the Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year alongside an inspiring group of men who are making a difference in their communities,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team. “I’ve been fortunate to spend my entire career playing for an organization and city that has embraced me at my best, but more importantly, supported me and helped me through some of my darkest moments.
“Playing this game has always been a passion of mine, but being able to share my mental health journey through the platform football has given me has been a rewarding experience. I’m grateful to have had a strong support system, and my hope is to support others who are suffering in silence by opening doors for them to feel comfortable enough sharing their stories.”
On the field, Johnson is a two-time All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowler and in 2022 he was tremendous again and was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in the same season. Despite suffering a torn adductor late in the regular season, Johnson was able to play through the playoff run and put off surgery until after Super Bowl LVII. He played extremely well in the playoffs.
And Johnson is having another stellar season in 2023. He has started 11 of 12 games and has been playing at a really high level. While the Eagles are coming off a loss to the 49ers, Johnson handled reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa.
Johnson was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2008. In 2021, Johnson began to open up about his mental health after he missed three games in the middle of the season with anxiety and depression. Since his return from that three-game stint, Johnson has been open about his mental health journey, using his experience to promote mental health awareness.
In addition to speaking publicly about mental health, Johnson has also hosted Gold Star families and Silver Star recipients through his Gold Star Family initiative.
“Lane Johnson has been a vital part of this team and community for the past 11 years,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “His accomplishments on the field speak for themselves, but the work he is doing off the field is changing lives. His passion and vulnerability as a mental health advocate serve as an inspiration to so many.
“Not only was Lane strong enough to seek the help needed to tackle his own battles, but he’s now using his experiences and platform to help others going through similar situations. That courage and resiliency speak volumes to the type of person Lane is. His strength and leadership, both on and off the field, are just a few examples of why he is so deserving of this recognition.”
Johnson also teamed up with Jason Kelce and Jordan Mailata to record “A Philly Special Christmas” album that raised over $1.25 million for local charities. The trio recently released as follow-up album.
And Johnson is also a co-creator of the OL Masterminds Summit, which brings together pro and collegiate offensive linemen in the offseason to go over technique.
As a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, Johnson will wear a helmet decal through the end of the season to acknowledge the nomination. Each nominee will receive up to $55,000 and the award winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. Johnson’s chosen charity is the Travis Manion Foundation (out of Doylestown, Pennsylvania), which lists its mission as, “Empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.”
From Dec. 5-Jan. 8, fans can help win an additional donation to the Travis Manion Foundation by tweeting with #WPMOYChallenge followed by ‘Johnson’ and/or ‘@LaneJohnson65’ anywhere in a tweet on X.
The Eagles have had three Man of the Year winners before: Chris Long in 2018, Troy Vincent in 2022 and Harold Carmichael in 1980.