It may be January, but the season of giving continues for the Raiders' Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.
Darren Waller recently surprised Paul Vautrinot, executive director of the Shine A Light Foundation, and his wife Kaylin with the gift of a lifetime: tickets to Super Bowl LVI this February.
"We wanted to surprise him and do something nice for him today. Been a great man in this Vegas community as far as giving back to the homeless and those that suffer from addiction," Waller said outside Vautrinot's home.
Waller and Vautrinot met as the tight end learned about and began working with the Shine A Light Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless of the greater Las Vegas area – specifically focused on those living in the underground flood channels – find access to housing and treatment centers.
Vautrinot shared that he was once in the same position as the hundreds of homeless who live underneath the city, and works now to help them find a way out.
"They all know we come from where they're coming from and the way that we present ourselves is truly, 'What do you need?'" he said.
In December, Waller honored the Shine A Light Foundation by representing the organization on his cleats for the league-wise My Cause My Cleats initiative. Additionally, he hosted a donation drive benefiting the nonprofit, where three truckloads of donations were collected.
"Meeting Paul and being connected to the Shine A Light crew has really opened my eyes and made me want to serve Vegas just on a deeper level," Waller said.
No. 83's work throughout the community led to him being selected as the Silver and Black's 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. The nominee of each NFL team will receive up to $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice.
Over the past year, Waller has given back to the community in a variety of ways, including hosting a youth football camp, meeting virtually with children as part of Make-A-Wish and taking part in mental health discussions on a panel of NFL players.
The 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, the Thursday before the Super Bowl.
Tight end Darren Waller has been selected as the Raiders' nominee for the 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.