Jason Witten wins the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. #NFLHonors— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) February 3, 2013
The award is handed out annually to honor a player's charity and volunteer work along with excellence on the field.
Every team has one person who is a nominee for the award and the candidates are then whittled down to three finalists. This year, Witten was joined by Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals and Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns as the finalists for the award.
All three were deserving, but Witten received the honor from a panel of judges consisting of Commissioner Roger Goodell, Connie Payton (widow of Walter Payton), last year's winner (Matt Birk) and a group former players.
This was a well-earned honor for the 30-year-old. He has been a consistent force on the field and he is always active in and around the community. This is the second time that Witten was named a finalist for this award.
Among other things, Witten has established the Jason Witten Score Foundation. According to the linked website, through his foundation Witten has "launched numerous outreach programs and funded several new building projects in Texas and his native Tennessee." The foundation has also been proactive in helping to stop domestic violence.
Despite being busy with his foundation and other community activities, Witten continues to excel on the field.
This past season he hauled in 110 catches for 1,039 yards for the 8-8 Dallas Cowboys, and that came in the 10th season of a remarkable career. Witten is now the Cowboys all-time leader in receptions. He has spent his entire career with Dallas and now has 806 receptions.
Witten put together an impressive resume for this award, and I applaud the judges on their choice.