Defensive Tackle Dan Williams
Dan Williams always said he never did his community work for the accolades or notoriety, but now the Raiders defensive tackle will get some well-earned recognition as the team's nominee for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.
Since joining the Silver and Black in 2015, the affable Tennessee-native has been a mainstay in the community, joining forces with the American Diabetes Association Team Tackle Campaign, in addition to his other work with the "Filling the Gap Foundation," and attendance at community events set up by the organization.
"It's definitely huge, a huge honor," said Williams Tuesday. "I'm very humbled to be selected. I've been learning more about the selection process, so there are a lot of people I guess that admire my work that I've been doing off the field, so I'm just glad to be involved in the community, and definitely happy to be recognized."
Each of the NFL's 32 teams is eligible to nominate a player for the annual award named after Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, and now in his seventh NFL season, Williams has been honored that his name can now be mentioned along what is a very distinguished list of nominees.
"Like I said, to be recognized is an honor within itself, and the crazy thing about it is that I don't do it to be recognized, but for other people to see it, and to admire it, that definitely feels good and helps you continue to do the work that you do, to show that it does make impact, that you're trying to help other people," Williams explained. "Just some of the names that I've been reading just this year, Larry [Fitzgerald], obviously I was in Arizona before, I've seen things that he's done, and he's been doing it for so many years. Last year, Eric [Berry], he got it in Kansas City, and Calais Campbell, I've been observing those guys, and they've been nominated before, so I'm just happy I found something that I'm passionate about, and just working with it, and to be nominated, man, I'm speechless."
An exclusive look at the Oakland Raiders as they participate in the annual Toys For Tots drive.
Williams' nomination is the just the cherry on top of what has been a very solid 2016 for No. 90 both on and off the field, as the Raiders have roared back for a resurgent year between the hash marks, and now sit on the precipice of making the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
That being said, Williams is hopeful that he'll have plans Feb. 4, the night the award is announced in Houston at NFL Honors.
"It's been a great experience, and so hopefully when February hits, we'll still be playing, and I won't be able to make the banquet," Williams said with a smile. "But just to go and just to be nominated in general, man, it's definitely a great feeling, and just to know what the award means, because a lot of guys they do great work throughout the community…. There's 31 other great nominees, and we'll just see where I stack up."
To show your support for Dan, and help a charity of his choice win $25,000, you can use the hashtag #WillamsWPMOYChallenge