Jonathan Allen named Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen was named the team's nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for the second straight year on Tuesday.
Named after the great Chicago Bears running back, the Walter Payton Award is given to the player with the most outstanding charitable work off the field as well as excellence on the field.
"The Walter Payton Man of the Year honor holds a special place in my heart. As a former teammate and friend of Walter Payton, I know how big of an honor being the team nominee is. I am proud of Jonathan for continuing his commitment to giving back to our community and focusing in on an area of giving back that directly impacted his life as a child," coach Ron Rivera said in a release. "During my time with the Bears, Walter was a leader, friend and most importantly a servant in the community. Jonathan shares these same characteristics, and it is because of that, that he is the perfect selection for this prestigious honor."
As the team leader and playing lights out on the defensive line during the Burgundy and Gold's four-game win streak, it's Allen's impressive off-field work that earns him a consecutive nomination for such an honor.
Allen, who spent some time in the foster care system himself, does the bulk of his philanthropic work with the Sasha Bruce Youthworks – a nonprofit helping children find safe homes and encourage them with career opportunities. All 32 nominees will earn a $40,000 donation to the charity of their choice, with the winner earning a $250,000 donation. Each nominee will also sport a helmet decal in recognition of their off-field work.
Along with his wife Hannah, Allen is today pledging $3 million in donations to local charities over the course of his playing career, per the team's release.
The award will be announced during the NFL Honors special the Thursday ahead of Super Bowl LVI. Fans are encouraged to promote their teams' nominees via social media. They can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of the award's presenting sponsor Nationwide.
Washington has had two players in franchise history win the award: Joe Theismann in 1982 and Darrell Green in 1996.