Rodgers Nominated for Payton Award

The Walter Payton Man of the Year award recognizes a player's community service and performance on the field. (Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers is the Green Bay Packers’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Named for the late Hall of Fame running back, the award recognizes a player's community service and performance on the field.

Among the other nominees are Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali and Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, who was a finalist last year.

“It’s an honor to be nominated,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on ESPN Milwaukee on Tuesday. “Frankly, I don’t know that I match up with some of the guys who’ve done some incredible things. I’ve loved the opportunity to work with the MACC Fund and do the incredible ‘It’s Aaron’ stuff. We’ve been able to highlight some incredible people doing great work in the area and the region.

“I just know that we all have a platform to do some incredible things. I try and make the most of my opportunities and lend my name and my time to some people that are doing some incredible work. We don’t want to do this for personal glory, so when you get nominated for something like this, you want the glory to those people who you’re fighting for to have a normal life. That’s kind of my motivation. I don’t know what’s going to happen or who else is nominated but it’s an honor to be mentioned with an award that bears the great Walter Payton’s name.”

Each team nominates a player, and the NFL Foundation donates $1,000 to a charity of his choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 contribution. They will be announced next month.

The winner will receive a $20,000 donation in his name to his favorite charity. The announcement will be made during the NFL Honors show Jan. 31, the night before the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

Here is Rodgers’ nomination:

In addition to being an elite quarterback in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers is a leader in his community. While Aaron commits his time and passion to numerous charitable organizations, he is a strong activist for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund, an organization working to cure childhood cancer and blood disorders. He recently eclipsed the $1.5 million mark in total monies raised through his own personal efforts, campaigns and events. Throughout the season, Aaron continues this outreach by inviting dozens of children with life-threatening medical conditions to come watch practice and meet him and the rest of the team. Aaron also uses his other talent, golf, to help raise money and awareness for cancer. He has participated in several high profile tournaments such as the Andy North and Friends Golf Getaway, Vince Lombardi Golf Classic and the 2009 ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic. He has even co-hosted his own charity golf tournament with Young Life, a non-denominational Christian ministry that reaches out to adolescents by building meaningful relationships. Aaron has also worked with The Salvation Army to host "Twelve’s Day of Christmas," a benefit partnering with Shopko to give holiday gifts to underprivileged children. One of his most recent efforts has been co-creating, a website intended to showcase organizations and individuals who are making a difference in their communities.

How has your nominee put the needs of members in the community ahead of their own?

Aaron has demonstrated that giving back to the community is important to him by dedicating his personal time to getting involved with various charities, from visible, well-known non-profits like The Salvation Army to ones that do not get the recognition they deserve, such as Raise Hope for Congo and the G9 Childhood Cancer Project. Aaron believes that it is his responsibility to use his position and resources as a professional athlete to bring attention to organizations that can spark change.

What is your nominee’s next initiative?

Aaron plans to continue growing, which was created to help raise awareness for the people and organizations that are having an enormous impact on the world, but could use some help sharing their stories. He is currently working on the third season of the videos aimed to build support for the community organizations he wants to make more visible, such as those that help children with cancer and those who have faced physical disabilities or poverty.

When did your nominee start supporting this cause?

Aaron became interested in helping sick children as a teenager, when he met and became friends with a young man who had been diagnosed with leukemia. This experience shaped the way Aaron saw his football career because he began seeing football as a platform he could use to raise awareness for childhood cancer and build support for the nonprofit organizations that fight the illnesses that afflict many young people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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