For the second time in three years, safety Malcolm Jenkins is the Eagles’ nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Jenkins, who will turn 32 later this month, is certainly a worthy candidate for the award, which honors one NFL player each year for contributions to their community, in addition to excellence on the field.
The Eagles’ nominee last year, Chris Long, won the award. He became the third Eagles player to win, joining Troy Vincent (2002) and Harold Carmichael (1980). The last time players from the same team won the award in consecutive years was in 1972 and 1973 when Chiefs linebacker Will Lanier won in ’72 and Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson won in ’73.
The Walter Payton Mann of the Year Award was established in 1970 but was renamed in 1999 after the late Walter Payton.
"Winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for me would be a huge honor and a way to acknowledge the work of everyone else who has allowed The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation to be what it is," Jenkins said to the Eagles’ website. "And that's every volunteer, every person that we've been able to engage with in the community, every partner, every sponsor, my wonderful board, who has been with us from the beginning, allowing us to operate in four different states.
"That's my mother who has been the president and really the boots on the ground for the foundation since its beginning. If I were to win the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, I think all of these people deserve to be recognized for the great work that they do."
The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation was created in 2010, when Jenkins was still a member of the New Orleans Saints, with a mission to serve youth in that community. The foundation has since grown and now serves in four states: New Jersey, Louisiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Jenkins is from New Jersey and has played either professionally or collegiately in the other three states.
In addition to his work with his foundation, Jenkins has taken an active role as an advocate for criminal justice reform. While his demonstration of raising a fist during the national anthem in in previous years to protest police brutality and racial and social injustice garnered headlines, Jenkins has always been more focused on his work to combat those issues. He always tried to shift the conversation to the work he and other NFL players have done in that area. Jenkins has met with politicians and lawmakers and he’s worked to educate himself and others on issues dealing with criminal justice reform.
The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation in their name to United Way and $250,000 donated to a charity of their choice.
Jenkins and the other 31 nominees will each receive a $50,000 donation to a charity of their choice.
The winner of the league-wide award will be announced on Feb. 1 during NFL Honors.
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