The NFL announced the 32 players nominated by their teams for this year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and the Philadelphia Eagles named Lane Johnson as their honoree.
The award acknowledges players who “excel on the field and demonstrate a passion for creating a lasting positive impact beyond the game,” and the league’s best right tackle does that everyday through his mental health advocacy.
“I’m incredibly honored to be named the Eagles’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year alongside an inspiring group of men who are making a difference in their communities. I’ve been fortunate to spend my entire career playing for an organization and city that has embraced me at my best, but more importantly, supported me and helped me through some of my darkest moments. Playing this game has always been a passion of mine, but being able to share my mental health journey through the platform football has given me has been a rewarding experience. I’m grateful to have had a strong support system, and my hope is to support others who are suffering in silence by opening doors for them to feel comfortable enough sharing their stories.” — Lane Johnson
Johnson has been open and honest about the dark times he’s faced, particularly in 2021 when he stepped away from the Eagles during the early part of the season. When the RT returned to the team in late-October, head coach Nick Sirianni knew that Johnson being open about his situation would help others, and it has. Sirianni and the whole Eagles organization is proud of Johnson’s strength and leadership.
“Lane Johnson has been a vital part of this team and community for the past 11 years. His accomplishments on the field speak for themselves, but the work he is doing off the field is changing lives. His passion and vulnerability as a mental health advocate serve as an inspiration to so many. Not only was Lane strong enough to seek the help needed to tackle his own battles, but he’s now using his experiences and platform to help others going through similar situations. That courage and resiliency speak volumes to the type of person Lane is. His strength and leadership, both on and off the field, are just a few examples of why he is so deserving of this recognition.” — Jeffrey Lurie
He’s become such an advocate for mental health and a great support for those struggling. Johnson does speaking engagements to talk about mental health, acceptance, and his journey, and has also partnered with Kooth, a free and confidential mental health service for Philadelphia youth. This year, he hosted Gold Star families and Silver Star recipients through his Gold Star Family initiative, which provides a unique opportunity to exchange stories and their experiences, and has committed time and resources to helping various local charities.
• Nationwide’s 9th annual Charity Challenge – Between Dec. 5 and Jan. 8, fans can help Lane win an additional donation to the charity of his choice, Travis Manion Foundation, by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by ‘Johnson’ and/or ‘@LaneJohnson65’ anywhere within a tweet.
• Alltroo Campaign – Fans can further support Lane by entering an online fundraiser customized by each player for the chance to win special prizes and experiences. All proceeds raised will directly support Lane’s charity of choice, Travis Manion Foundation.
The last time the Eagles nominee won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award was back in 2018, when Johnson’s best friend Chris Long, earned the honor. Johnson is definitely deserving of getting his accolades, too.