This has been a frustrating season for the Dallas Cowboys on the field. Let’s put that aside for the moment. We all want the team to do well and are upset when they don’t, but there are bigger and more important things that happen with relation to the game of football. So many players in the league make it a point to use the platform that being in the NFL affords them to do so much good, and there is a particular honor every year that recognizes this type of achievement in communities everywhere.
If you are unaware of exactly what the award the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award means, it is indeed the highest off-the-field mark that an NFL player can receive.
Considered the league’s most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back WALTER PAYTON.
There are three players in Dallas Cowboys franchise history that have taken home the award since its inception: Roger Staubach (1978), Troy Aikman (1997), and Jason Witten (2012). You may have seen before that different active players who have won the award wear a silhouette of the trophy as a patch on their jerseys. Nominees wear a decal on the back of their helmets.
Every team in the NFL has a nominee and this year the Dallas Cowboys nominee is linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith has struggled when it comes to matters on the field, but this needs to be separated from that and applauded for what it is... the recognition of his hard work and generous spirit in his community.
Smith, since entering the NFL, has focused on helping minorities have opportunities in the entrepreneurial world. You can view more about his work in this capacity right here.
It should also be noted that former Dallas Cowboys, and now Miami Dolphins, cornerback, Byron Jones, is the nominee for his team.
Congratulations to both Jaylon Smith and Byron Jones.