Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year at the season-ending NFL Honors ceremony on Saturday night.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is handed out yearly to one of 32 nominees across the league with one representative from each team. The award recognizes outstanding community service activities off the field in additional to excellence on it.
All 32 nominees receiving a $40,000 charitable donation to the charity of their choice. Wilson receive an additional $250,000 donation for being named the Man of the Year.
"Russell Wilson has always prioritized serving his community, but this year, he met the challenge and more when it was needed most," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "He has shown continued excellence on the field for nine seasons, but the work he has done to help youth and fight food insecurity through his Why Not You Foundation bolsters his lasting legacy. Russell is extremely deserving of this award and I know he will use this as an additional springboard to continue to positively impact others."
Wilson is the second Seahawks player to receive the award. Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent won the award in 1988. It was the second time Wilson was nominated for the honor, his previous nomination coming in 2014.
Wilson and his wife, Ciara, run the Why Not You Foundation, which Wilson started in 2014. Over $9 million has been donated through the foundation to Strong Against Cancer since it was founded. Wilson makes weekly trips to Seattle Chidren's Hospital to visit ailing kids undergoing treatment for cancer. He's managed to continue those visits this year despite an ongoing pandemic with video visitations instead of his typical in-person trips.
Wilson and Ciara pledged to donate a million meals to Feeding America during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Wilson has spoken out more this year on social justice initiatives and also got involved in helping to get people registered to vote for last year's elections. Wilson appeared in commercial spots along with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley for the I AM A VOTER campaign.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field on January 09, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)