Photo by Tony Gonzales
The Oakland Raiders selected FB Marcel Reece as their Walter Payton Man of the Year.
From granting scholarships to forming foundations promoting literacy, to getting kids active, the players nominated for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award represent the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact.
Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists for the award, named for the legendary Bears running back who died in 1999. Finalists will be announced in January 2015.
The winner will be announced in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLIX, during the 4th Annual NFL Honors awards show, a two-hour primetime special to air nationally on Saturday, January 31, from 9-11 p.m. ET on NBC.
Each of the 32 team nominees receive a $1,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to the charity of their choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 donation, and the winner will receive an additional $20,000 donation in his name.
Read Reece's nomination:
Marcel Reece has been active in community endeavors since joining the Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2008. He spent his first NFL season on the practice squad and made a smooth transition to NFL fullback, earning consecutive Pro Bowl honors for the past two years as well as becoming a team captain. Off the field, Reece has been equally valuable. In 2011, Marcel formed the Marcel Reece Foundation, which partners with various organizations to provide opportunities for character and leadership development, giving youth the tools to positively impact their family, school and community. For the past five years, he has also put on a free football clinic in his high school hometown of Hesperia, California. In addition, Marcel has been the team's ambassador for the United Way for the past two years, participating in a photo shoot for the league-wide United Way campaign and joining other NFL players to encourage and recruit volunteerism. Together, Marcel and United Way hosted a TweetUp, in which fans were notified of an opportunity to meet him via Twitter. Marcel has also been a longtime advocate for the Raiders "Play 60" campaign, spending his time and effort promoting healthy lifestyles for children in the Bay Area and teaching them the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.
How has your nominee put the needs of members in the community ahead of their own?
Reece, and his Foundation, implement programs within local schools and community centers. Working hard to form positive community relationships, Reece feels that it is important to make community and social contributions.
What is your nominee's next initiative?
Reece established his own foundation in 2011 and for the past five years, he has put on a free football clinic in his high school hometown of Hesperia, California. Through his foundation, Reece and his wife, Tera, distribute Thanksgiving baskets to needy families in Oakland.
When did your nominee start supporting this cause?
The Marcel Reece Foundation was created in 2011.