The Bears on Thursday announced that tight end Trey Burton has been nominated as the team's 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year presented by Nationwide, which represents the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact.
Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.
"It's an incredible and humbling honor to be nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award," Burton said. "I'm so thankful for everyone who has supported me in my career, most importantly my wife, family, teammates, coaches and the Bears organization. To even be mentioned in the same breath as Walter Payton is truly special and I hope to continue following in his footsteps to make a lasting impact on our community."
Throughout the season, Burton has pledged to donate $1,000 per catch and $2,500 per touchdown to International Justice Mission, which is a global organization that aims to eliminate slave trade. So far, Burton has raised over $50,000. He has also chosen to support IJM for "My Cause, My Cleats." Click here to learn more about why he selected IJM.
Additionally, Burton is one of five players on the Bears' social justice committee, which was formed this year. Over 40 players, along with coaches and executives, raised $311,150, which was matched by the Bears, Bears Care and the NFL Foundation for a total donation of $813,850. Five local social justice organizations were selected to receive separate donations out of the total allotment: By the Hand Club for Kids, Kicks 4 the City, SAGA, YWCA Lake County and My Block, My Hood, My City.
Prior to his involvement with the social justice committee, Burton had developed a relationship with By the Hand Club for Kids through numerous visits to their Austin location and had helped host them at Halas Hall for practice and a mini-career fair with Bears staff and Chicago police officers.
Burton has recorded five receiving touchdowns this season, which ranks second among Bears pass-catchers and is tied for fifth among league tight ends. His 12 consecutive starts mark the fifth-longest streak by a tight end in the NFL.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was named the 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year, marking the franchise's fifth player to be honored with the award. The team's other winners have included Payton (1977), Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990) and Jim Flanigan (2000).
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Five hundred thousand dollars will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner: $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook (the NFL and United Way's digital character education program) and $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee's last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.