On the final night as reigning Super Bowl Champion, Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles was honored with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. One of the most prestigious awards in the NFL could not have gone to a more deserving player.
The award comes with donations of $500,000, split be between a $250,000 donation in Long’s name to expand Character Playbook (the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program), and $250,000 to a charity of his choice.
Long has committed himself, particularly the past few years, to enriching his community near and far. From donating his entire 2017 salary to charity, to hiking up Kilimanjaro twice in an effort to bring clean drinking water to thousands of people in Africa, he is a man who puts his money where his mouth is and stands up for what is right.
In 2018, the Eagles defender devoted his time and money — a quarter of his annual salary — to a literacy campaign in Philadelphia and other communities throughout the United States with the help of current and former teammates, and other players in the league.
Its First Quarter for Literacy Week! Thanks to donations from @fcoxx_91 @ConnorBarwin98 @awhitworth77 & @beau_allen we have distributed 27,600 books this week w/ @FirstBook to kids in Mississippi, NY, LA & Tampa. Excited to be champions for literacy. #FQLWeek #FQLWChampion— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) February 1, 2019
Long hasn’t decided whether he’ll be retiring this year, or even coming back to the Eagles, but he’s done a lot for the community in the two years he’s been in Philadelphia. A leader in the locker room, and leading a third trip up Kilimanjaro this offseason, Long is a man of action and someone who inspires those around him.
Congrats, to Chris Long. A very deserving addition to the short list of Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winners.