Since 1970, the Man of the Year award was given to players who went over and beyond in outstanding community service on and off the field, and still perform with extreme excellence on the field. It was renamed after the Chicago Bears greatest running back of all-time in 1999.
What is your “Why?” That is the question Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey asked his teammates during training camp. It became a highlight of this season’s edition of the HBO series Hard Knocks.
And part of his “Why?” has always been combining football with community service, giving back to those who helped him and being a role model for our youth.
Originally drafted by the Browns in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Kirksey has become a leader in the locker room and a real presence in the community. His Kirkoland Foundation was established to help children, both in Cleveland where he plays and in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was born and raised.
That was something that my mom used to always tell me as a kid, and sometimes now even though I consider myself grown! But honestly, it took until I was grown to really understand what this meant. Now that I really get it, I think it’s a wonderful way to describe the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been the leader of this Detroit Lions team for 10 seasons. He has been a comeback player of the year, his name has been tossed around in both MVP conversations and trade conversations among fans. But one thing you can’t deny about John Matthew Stafford is his commitment to the Detroit community.