Down to five

The Chicago Bears announced Friday team finalists for the 2002 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the only National Football League award recognizing a player's off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.

Among those nominated are: defensive end Phillip Daniels, quarterback Jim Miller, defensive tackle Bryan Robinson, linebacker Brian Urlacher, and defensive tackle Ted Washington.

Daniels annually hosts holiday events for children, conducts youth football camps and is active in his hometown of Donalsonville, Georgia. Miller participated in the Central Illinois Touchdown Tour, benefiting Special Olympics, serves as spokesperson for the Bears annual Coat Drive and attends numerous community events throughout the year. Robinson, also a participant in the Touchdown Tour, appears at schools to speak to children, and participates in an annual Turkey Drive. Urlacher, a supporter of Special Olympics in Illinois and New Mexico, contributes time to the Ronald McDonald House and organizes youth football skills and speed camps. Washington serves as the player spokesperson for Bears Care's Hunt for Food and Shelter, supports the United Way, and operates the Ted Washington Foundation benefiting the education and physical needs of youth at risk.

In 1999, the league renamed the NFL Man of the Year Award after the late Walter Payton as a tribute to his greatness both on and off the field. Most of any NFL team, previous Bears winners of the Man of the Year Award include Walter Payton (1977), Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990) and Jim Flanigan (2000).

A local voting committee will select the Bears' finalist for the national award, to be announced in late October. The Bears' finalist will compete against the accomplishments of the 31 other league finalists. A national panel will announce the overall winner in January.


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