The Bears on Thursday announced that receiver Allen Robinson II has been nominated as the team's 2019 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. All 32 teams nominate one player for the award.
"It's a tremendous honor to be the Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for the Chicago Bears this season," Robinson said. "This means a lot to me, especially given what the Payton name means to this city, organization and league. Thank you to all of those who have supported me, especially my family, teammates and the Bears. Helping the youth in Chicago through my 'Within Reach Foundation' will continue to be a priority of mine and I'm excited to see what else we can accomplish."
The NFL Man of the Year Award was first presented in 1970. In 1999, the NFL renamed the honor after Payton as a tribute to his greatness both on and off the field. The legendary running back passed away on Nov. 1, 1999 at the age of 45 due to bile duct cancer.
Robinson is involved in the community through the Bears and his "Within Reach Foundation," which aims to provide educational opportunities and resources to low-income and inner-city Chicago students to help put success within reach.
In May, he launched the foundation's first Reach for a Book Reading Zone in Chicago at the Gantz Boys & Girls Club. He also held a fundraising event in October, which raised more than $135,000 to support his mission. Robinson hosted his 5th Annual Operation Elf event this December, during which he visited with 25 kids from Chicago Youth Centers, took them on a shopping spree and gave them each an autographed football.
For each home game this season, Robinson has purchased six tickets, which he donates to a local charity. He also regularly visits with community guests that the Bears host at practice each week, and he has attended the team's annual children's hospital visit in the fall and the team's primary fundraising event in the spring.
Asked what he's most proud of, Robinson told ChicagoBears.com: "Being able to raise money but also being able to see the excitement that kids have when they can go on a little shopping spree for Christmas. And being able to see the smiles on kids' faces when they have the opportunity to get whatever they want going back to school."
Robinson is in his second season with the Bears and current leads the team in receiving this year with 76 receptions for 898 yards and seven touchdowns.
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).