FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Patriots announced Thursday that linebacker Kyle Van Noy is the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, presented by Nationwide.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
The other 31 nominees from the league were also announced Thursday by their respective teams.
Van Noy and his wife, Marissa, started the Van Noy Valor Foundation, a mission that helps initiative relating to adopted, foster and disadvantaged youth who are in need. It strives to provide opportunities to encourage personal valor in youth by giving them resources and tools to reach their full potential.
“We are happy to nominate Kyle Van Noy for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said. “We are so proud of Kyle’s accomplishments on the field as a New England Patriot, but even more so of his character and his contributions in the community.”
Van Noy and his wife chose a cause that is close to their hearts. He was adopted as an infant and his wife’s father and younger brother were both adopted.
“It is a great honor to be nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award,” Van Noy said. “Our foundation was put together so that we can share our stories and promote foster care and adoption and show how beautiful it is. It is meaningful because I have lived it, it is a part of me and it is a part of my wife and her family. We understand the process, and we’ve seen the positive outcomes of the situation we are in. We like to share our message and hopefully, it inspires other families.”
As a nominee, Van Noy will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal throughout the rest of the season.
All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
The Patriots said that fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 5th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees.
Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee’s last name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 12 and Jan. 12 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 Nationwide.
The 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors on Feb. 1, which takes place the night before Super Bowl LIV, on FOX.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award can be found here.