New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty finds himself as the team’s nominee for this year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, recognizing NFL players for outstanding community service as well as excellence on the field.
The league announced 32 candidates for the award on Tuesday. Three of those candidates will be selected as finalists and announced in January. And the winner will be selected from a panel of judges including Commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Sports Illustrated writer Peter King, Connie Payton, Frank Gifford, Anthony Muñoz and 2013 recipient Charles Tillman.
The 2014 winner will be announced in Arizona during the NFL Honors awards show on Jan. 31 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
Each nominee will receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice from the NFL Foundation. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000, and the NFL Man of the Year will receive an additional $20,000 to do so.
The Patriots detailed their nomination’s contributions in a release on Tuesday.
Since joining the Patriots in 2010, Devin McCourty has gone above and beyond to support children and families across New England through a variety of different community appearances and programs. This past year, he was selected as the New England Patriots 2014 Ron Burton Community Service award winner, which is given to one player for their outstanding commitment to volunteerism. One cause that he is passionate about is sickle cell disease, the most common genetic disease in the United States. When Devin was a kid, his aunt was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, an inherited disorder that causes a person’s red cells to change shape because of a chemical change in their hemoglobin. To help fight the disease, he teamed up with his brother Jason to create “McCourty Twins Tackle Sickle Cell.” This initiative is designed to increase awareness about sickle cell disease and raise critical funds to help find a cure. Devin has also teamed with Boston Children’s Hospital to be a spokesperson for the disease. He has served in PSAs and is actively involved in increasing awareness. On October 27, he hosted a casino night fundraiser to support Boston Children’s Hospital and Next Step, a mentoring program for children and families faced with sickle cell disease. He is also passionate about local team initiatives. Devin has served as an advocate for education to middle school students through the Patriots’ Read Between the Lines program, encouraging students to surpass their summer reading goals, and has recently become a spokesman for the New England Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative. In this role, he speaks to children several times each year about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. He is very charismatic about giving back to the community and encourages his teammates to get involved as well.
His dedication to giving back doesn’t just stop there. His dedication to the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation has been remarkable over the years. McCourty has served as an advocate for education to middle school students through the team’s “Read Between the Lines” program, encouraging students to surpass their summer reading goals. In addition to the many school visits he has made, he can be found on most Tuesdays throughout the season volunteering and giving back in his local communities. He has also made numerous hospital visits, worked at food banks and community shelters, supported the Patriots’ Play 60 and Football for You events throughout New England and continues to be counted on regularly for his contributions to the team, both on and off the field.
McCourty’s twin brother, Jason, a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, has also been nominated for his work in the community.