Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Olsen have been named the finalists for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, given to the player who demonstrates the highest levels of commitment both on the field and in their communities.

Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Olsen Named Finalists For Walter Payton Award

The winner among the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, New York Giants quarterback and Carolina Panthers tight end will be announced on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI, at NFL Honors in Houston. The Associated Press individual NFL awards will also be given that night. The ceremony will air on FOX and will be hosted by actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key. 

“Larry, Eli and Greg are not only top-tier athletes, but also men of great character, integrity and generosity of spirit. Their passion for community and helping others is having a positive impact on countless individuals and communities, and it’s something we should all celebrate,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday. “We commend these impressive men for setting the standard for NFL players and athletes nationwide.”

This is the second time in two years Manning is named a finalist for the prestigious award. The Giants QB lost the 2015 award to Detroit Lions receiver Anquan Boldin. Manning has always been very involved in his community, especially in founding the Eli and Abby Manning Children’s Clinic with his wife in Mississippi in 2007 and raising nearly $3 million since then. Manning also spearheads “Tackle Kids’ Cancer,” an initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center.


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A total of $1 million will be donated in the name of the Man of the Year, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and the other half supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets.

The two runners-up will each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice, as well as a $125,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook, a digital learning initiative.

Fitzgerald’s foundation, the Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund, has provided grants of more than $1 million to promote reading and technology access for students K-12 and to support efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer survivors. Fitzgerald also promotes economic development in Africa.

For Olsen, charitable deeds have a personal origin. In 2009, after witnessing his mother tackle and survive breast cancer, Olsen founded Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation, a program has distributed over $520,000 to six hospitals and foundations. In 2013, Olsen and his wife Kara founded the HEARTest Yard Fund after a routine examination of their unborn son, T.J., revealed the infant had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 04: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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