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Arik Armstead the 49ers’ nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

Dec 5, 2023 at 6:47 AM--

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Today, the NFL announced the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead was the nominee for the San Francisco 49ers. This is Armstead's fourth consecutive nomination.

Considered one of the NFL's most prestigious awards, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities and excellence on the field.

Anquan Boldin is the only 49ers player to win the award. He did so in 2015 after his final season in San Francisco. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is the most recent award winner.

As a nominee, Armstead will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field. Select stadiums will also display goal post wraps adorned with the NFL Man of the Year trophy silhouette.

"The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award is the league's most prestigious honor given annually to the player who best represents the greatness and compassion of Walter Payton on and off the field," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "These 32 outstanding men are making a valuable difference in their communities every day, and we are proud to celebrate their special gifts and humanitarianism."

Since the Armstead Academic Project's (AAP) inception in 2019, the defensive lineman has helped raise and personally donated over $2 million to Sacramento and Bay Area youth. As a team captain, Armstead encourages his teammates to use their platform to support underserved communities, welcoming them by his side to empower and inspire.

Through his foundation, Armstead hosts story times, youth football camps, college field trips, free health and wellness fairs and provides resources, warm meals, and school supplies. The most notable feature of Armstead's dedication to the community is not just the number of lives he's impacted but his commitment to real change. Armstead's ethos that "a zip code should not define student opportunity" is one that pushes him beyond event-based impact and into outcome-based programming to close critical academic gaps.

Over several years, Armstead has collaborated with non-profits and educators to provide elementary youth in need of comprehensive academic support with targeted reading interventions by credentialed teachers. Armstead plans to scale this summer program to other Sacramento and Bay Area schools to close the literacy gap among third-grade students. Additionally, Armstead is creating a Career Camp Playbook to bridge the gap between youth need and employment opportunities to promote economic mobility for underserved youth nationwide.

"I really take my career as what I do on and off the field. I think they go hand in hand," said Armstead. "I want to use my blessing to bless others. I feel like it's my responsibility. When it's all said and done, I want to leave this earth a better place than when I was born. I think that's what we should all strive to do."

All 32 nominees will receive recognition for their achievements during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The winner of the 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally on CBS on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Each nominee supports a range of initiatives off the field that are important to them and their communities, including empowering youth to lead healthy lifestyles, supporting veterans, and bringing awareness to other causes close to their hearts. Each nominee will receive up to $55,000, and the award winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are made possible by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

Below is a list of the 2023 nominees:

Arizona Cardinals Jonathan Ledbetter
Atlanta Falcons Bradley Pinion
Baltimore Ravens Roquan Smith
Buffalo Bills Dion Dawkins
Carolina Panthers Bradley Bozeman
Chicago Bears Justin Jones
Cincinnati Bengals Ted Karras
Cleveland Browns Anthony Walker Jr.
Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Lawrence
Denver Broncos Garett Bolles
Detroit Lions Frank Ragnow
Green Bay Packers De'Vondre Campbell
Houston Texans Jon Weeks
Indianapolis Colts Zaire Franklin
Jacksonville Jaguars Dawuane Smoot
Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes II
Las Vegas Raiders Maxx Crosby
Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James Jr.
Los Angeles Rams Cooper Kupp
Miami Dolphins Alec Ingold
Minnesota Vikings Harrison Phillips
New England Patriots Jonathan Jones
New Orleans Saints Tyrann Mathieu
New York Giants Saquon Barkley
New York Jets Solomon Thomas
Philadelphia Eagles Lane Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers Cameron Heyward
San Francisco 49ers Arik Armstead
Seattle Seahawks Bobby Wagner
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Antoine Winfield Jr.
Tennessee Titans Jeffery Simmons
Washington Commanders Terry McLaurin

This year, fans are once again encouraged to participate in Nationwide's annual Charity Challenge, a social media and online contest that allows fans to show support for their favorite Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee. Fans can vote on X (formerly Twitter) by posting #WPMOYChallenge along with the last name/X handle of their chosen nominee or by voting directly on In cases where multiple nominees share the same last name (i.e. Justin Jones and Jonathan Jones), all valid votes on X must include the #WPMOYChallenge hashtag and the nominee's X handle or full name. ​

The nominee who receives the most collective hashtag mentions and votes will win an additional $35,000 donation from Nationwide to the charity of their choice, with the runner-up receiving $10,000 and the third-place winner receiving $5,000. Charity Challenge voting takes place from Dec. 5 to Jan. 8.

"The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominees continue to impress and inspire all of us year after year," said Ramon Jones, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Nationwide. "It is an honor for Nationwide to play a role in showcasing and supporting the tremendous work that these community champions do in their team markets, hometowns, and across the country."

Fans can further amplify their support for their favorite nominee by participating in an exciting campaign by Alltroo – an online fundraising platform started by former NFL tight end and​ 3-time Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee Kyle Rudolph. Through Alltroo, fans can support their favorite nominee by entering an online fundraiser customized by each player for the chance to win special prizes and experiences, such as meet and greets, game tickets, sideline passes, and more. Thanks to Nationwide's support, one hundred percent of the proceeds raised through Alltroo's campaign will directly support the nominee's non-profit/charity of choice. For more information, visit

First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton. Since then, 56 legends and players have received this esteemed award, including three current players: Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos, and Calais Campbell of the Atlanta Falcons. Each of these players wears a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys throughout the season to recognize the outstanding contributions they have made to the game and their communities.

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