Matt Forte has been selected as the Bears' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player for excellence both on and off the field.
The winner will be announced during the 5th Annual NFL Honors awards show on Saturday, Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50. A panel of judges including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, SI's Peter King, Connie Payton, Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz, San Diego Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson and the 2014 NFL Man of the Year winner and current Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis will select the 2016 recipient.
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Each of the 32 nominees will receive a $5000 donation for their charity. The two runner-ups will receive an additional $6,000 donation and the winner will receive a $50,000 donation. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
From NFL.com, regarding Forte's nomination:
Matt Forte founded The Matt Forte 'What's Your Forte?' Foundation in 2013 to empower at-risk Chicago-area youth striving to achieve their dreams of higher education by providing mentoring, counseling, tutoring and academic scholarships. It is Matt's mission to help youth meet their full potential.
This summer, Matt hosted his third annual Matt Forte Football ProCamp. Matt has also hosted various mentoring dinners and camps in prior years, both in Chicago and his hometown, Slidell, La. In preparation for the upcoming school year, the Matt Forte "What's Your Forte?" Foundation hosted its inaugural "Back to School 'Kicks' and Backpack Giveaway." Matt provided more than 200 kids with backpacks, school supplies, tennis shoes and other clothing items. Matt understands that the families of many Chicago-area youth are unable to provide their children with "back-to-school" clothing items. Filling this void helps remove the stigma that children face upon returning to school each year, allowing them to focus on academics and not individual appearances. The foundation additionally has a turkey giveaway planned for Thanksgiving.
The NFL Man of the Year Award was founded in 1970. It was renamed to the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1999, to honor the late Hall of Fame Bears running back.
Previous members of the Bears to win the award include Walter Payton (1977), Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990), Jim Flanigan (2000) and Charles Tillman (2013).
For a full list of candidates and more information, visit NFL.com/manoftheyear.