Rodney McLeod has been named the Eagles’ nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the team announced Thursday morning.
Each NFL team has a nominee for the prestigious award, and all 32 nominees receive a donation of $40,000 in their name to the charity of their choice. The overall winner, which is named Super Bowl week, receives a $250,000 donation.
McLeod, now in his fifth year with the Eagles, founded the Change our Future Foundation with his wife Erika to empower Philadelphia youths through education and community enrichment.
“I’m incredibly honored to be named the Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year,” McLeod said. “Growing up, I had a lot of people sacrifice to help me get to where I am today. The fact that I have this platform to give back, alongside my family, teammates and the city of Philadelphia, is truly humbling. Impacting the lives of others is one of the highest honors we can all strive to achieve, and I’m blessed to be recognized next to an inspiring group of peers who are making a difference in their communities.”
McLeod has volunteered over the years for numerous local charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Eagles Autism Foundation.
He’s also been a passionate voice for social justice and equality and helped form the Eagles Social Justice Leadership Council, which raises and distributes donations for local organizations in the Philadelphia area devoted to social justice. They have already raised over $1.3 million.
"Throughout his career, Rodney has exemplified a relentless passion and commitment to making a difference, not only on the football field, but in the community,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “As a country, we have faced incredible hardship this year, but Rodney has been a bright spot for so many in our community. From creating the Change Our Future Foundation to assisting vulnerable communities in the midst of a pandemic to making his voice heard on social justice matters, Rodney has provided hope by sparking real change in Philadelphia and beyond.”
McLeod and the other nominees will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal in the Eagles’ final four games.
Fans can vote to support McLeod and raise additional money for a charity of his choice by voting on Twitter using the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge.
Since the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year program began in 1970, three Eagles have been named the overall winner of the award — Harold Carmichael in 1980, Troy Vincent in 2002 and Chris Long in 2018.
Lurie informed McLeod that he had been selected as this year’s Eagles nominee in a surprise Zoom conversation Thursday morning:
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