Lynch nominated for award

Denver Broncos safety John Lynch has been selected as the team's nominee for the 2005 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.

The prestigious award is the only accolade given by the NFL that recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field. Each team selects a player for its local award, and the national winner will be chosen from those nominees and recognized at a press conference in Detroit during Super Bowl XL week in early February.

As the Broncos' local award winner, Lynch received a $1,000 donation to the organization of his choice. The national winner will receive a similar donation of $25,000.

Other finalists for the Broncos' local award were wide receivers Ashley Lelie and Rod Smith as well as linebacker Al Wilson, and the winner was announced Thursday night at Morton's Steakhouse. The team also on Thursday recognized wide receiver Todd Devoe, tackle George Foster, linebacker Ian Gold, fullback Kyle Johnson and quarterback Jake Plummer for their work as community ambassadors.

Since joining the Broncos in 2004, Lynch has made numerous charitable contributions to the Denver area and been actively involved in the community through the John Lynch Foundation. Started by Lynch and his wife, Linda, in 2000, the foundation strives to develop quality young leaders and includes such programs as the "John Lynch Star of the Month" and "John Lynch Salutes the Stars."

This is the third such time that Lynch, a six-time Pro Bowl choice, has been selected as his team's nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. The 13th-year veteran also was selected as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' winner in both the 2002 and '03 seasons.

The five panelists who voted on the Broncos' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee were Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club Director Rich Barrows, KOA Radio's Mike Rice, Denver Broncos Vice President of Public Relations Jim Saccomano, KCNC-TV Manager of Community Affairs Elaine Torres and Bill Williamson of The Denver Post.

Recent Broncos nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award include wide receiver Rod Smith (2004), linebacker Ian Gold (2003) and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (2002). Quarterback John Elway (1992) is the only Broncos player ever to win the national award, which was first given in 1970 and renamed after the Chicago Bears' Hall of Fame running back in 1999.

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