NNAMDI ASOMUGHA, ISRAEL IDONIJE, MADIEU WILLIAMS NAMED FINALISTS FOR WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED AT SUPER BOWL XLV
Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Asomugha is joined by two other candidates: Israel Idonije*of the Chicago Bears and *Madieu Williams of the Minnesota Vikings. The three candidates for this year's award, named for the legendary Chicago Bears running back who died in 1999, will be recognized at Super Bowl XLV.
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the only league award that recognizes a player's off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced live on FOX before Super Bowl XLV on February 6. Asomugha and Idonije will be in North Texas during Super Bowl week and participate in a press conference on Friday, February 4, with the late Walter Payton's family. Williams will be in the Persian Gulf, having made an earlier commitment to visit with U.S. service members during Super Bowl week, re-enforcing his commitment to the community.
On Super Bowl Sunday, one of the three finalists will join an esteemed list of winners of the annual award, including 17 Pro Football Hall of Famers. Recent winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award include Brian Waters of the Kansas City Chiefs (2009), former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner* *(2008) and Jason Taylor, then of the Miami Dolphins (2007).
The three finalists were chosen by a blue-ribbon panel from among the 32 team nominees for the award, all of whom receive a $1,000 donation from NFL Charities to the charity of their choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 donation in their name. The selection panel is comprised of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Connie Payton, Pro Football Hall of Fame members Frank Gifford and Anthony Munoz, Giants great and Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Association George Martin, 2009 winner Brian Waters, and Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will receive the Gladiator statue, an original art creation by the noted sculptor, Daniel Schwartz. In addition, the player's favorite charity will receive an additional $20,000 donation in his name.
*NNAMDI ASOMUGHA *
Asomugha is a four-time Pro Bowl cornerback for the Oakland Raiders. In 2010, he was only targeted 33 times by opposing quarterbacks, embodying the essence of a shut-down corner. Off the field, he serves as chairman of the Asomugha Foundation, where he works to enhance the two key programs, OWIN and ACTS. OWIN, Orphans and Widows in Need, supports women and children in Nigeria and provides food, shelter, medicine, vocational training, literacy efforts and scholarships. OWIN is currently working to expand the existing two centers in Nigeria to other countries throughout Africa. ACTS, the Asomugha College Tour for Scholars, was created in 2007 and is an annual college tour and mentoring program which provides high-achieving high-school students of color the opportunity to visit college campuses across the country. To date, ACTS has provided 36 students with opportunity to tour colleges and universities in Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Washington, DC. The 2011 tour will take an additional 16 students to New Orleans. Asomugha speaks nationally on the merits of volunteerism and education and was an invited guest of former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Foundation Global Initiative University (2009, 2010). He currently serves as a national spokesperson for United Way's "Live United" campaign and NFL Network's "Keep Gym in School" initiative.