Von Miller, Marshawn Lynch Headline 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominees

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Denver. The Broncos won 24-17. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch already have Super Bowl titles, but they are looking to add something else to their legacies: the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

On Thursday, the NFL announced the 32 finalists for this year's award with one representative per team. Miller and Lynch headline a group that includes Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long.

The award goes to the player the league recognizes for excellence on the field and community service off it.

The winner will be announced Feb. 2 during the NFL Honors show. $500,000 will be donated to charity in the winner's name; half will go to a charity of his choice, and the other half goes toward expanding Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program.

Each of the other 31 finalists will see $50,000 donated to Character Playbook in his name and another $50,000 donated to a charity of his choice.

"The Man of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to acknowledge 32 exemplary players whose commitment to excellence extends on and off the field," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "This year's nominees have used their platforms to transform communities across the country. We are proud of their work and celebrate their dedication and impact through this award."

Houston Texans defensive end .J.J. Watt won the award last year for his work in his team's city following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

The four-time All-Pro posted videos on social media asking for help in fundraising and was essential in raising more than $37 million to assist the impacted areas in their recovery efforts.

Watt is one of five active players who have won the Walter Payton Award, joining New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis.

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