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AJ Cole honored pregame for nomination as Raiders' Walter Payton Man of the Year


Before the Raiders' matchup against the New England Patriots, AJ Cole was honored for his nomination as the Raiders' Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Joined on the field before kickoff by Raiders President Sandra Douglass Morgan and General Manager Dave Ziegler, Cole was presented with a crystal trophy inscribed with his name to commemorate the nomination. The punter was chosen as the Silver and Black's nominee for his excellence on the field as well as off it through his efforts to give back to the community, most notably with Special Olympics Nevada.

"The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities," Cole said. "I've learned a lot working with these amazing kids and amazing humans. ... I love the city of Las Vegas. I love this community and I love Raider Nation. I'm so honored to be your nominee."

Beginning in his college years at North Carolina State and continuing on in his NFL career, Cole has been an advocate for the children and adults who are part of Special Olympics, most recently holding a flag football game for athletes of the program. Earlier this year, he participated in sending off the local Special Olympian contingent to the USA Games in Orlando, Florida, and spent quality time with athletes and coaches over dinner.

As one of 32 nominees, Cole will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments.

To help Cole earn additional donations for Special Olympics Nevada, fans can join a social media campaign to show support for the punter through Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge and AJ Cole or #WPMOYChallenge and @AJCole90.

The nominee who receives the most hashtag mentions will win an additional $25,000 donation to his charity of choice, the runner-up will receive $10,000 and the third-place winner will receive $5,000 from Nationwide.

The Water Payton Man of the Year winner will be announced at NFL Honors in February.


Walter Payton Man of the Year

Vote AJ Cole for Walter Payton Man of the Year. Tweet #WPMOYCHALLENGE @AJCOLE90

Take a look inside Allegiant Stadium as the Raiders prepare for their Week 15 matchup against the New England Patriots.

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