The award is given annually by the NFL to honor a player’s volunteer and charitable work, as well as his play on the field. A nominee is named from each of the league’s 32 teams before a panel of judges choose the eventual winner. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Connie Payton, Walter Payton’s widow, are members of the panel.
Boldin led the team with 65 receptions and 921 receiving yards in 2012, eclipsing 10,000 career receiving yards in the process.
Away from fooball, Boldin runs his own foundation, the Q81 Foundation, which is dedicated to expanding the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children.
The organization, which was founded in 2004, offers after-school programs, full-time college scholarships, and dental care and food programs for disadvantaged youth.
Last April, Boldin and former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald traveled to Ethiopia to bring attention to the ongoing drought and famine in East Africa.
He also has done extensive charity work in the Baltimore area, being named an honorary chair of the United Way of Central Maryland’s Emerging Leaders United, a collection of leaders 40 and under who are actively seeking ways to give, advocate and volunteer.
As the local Walter Payton Man of the Year honoree, Boldin will receive $1,000 toward his foundation. The top three finalists, with the announcement to be made this month, will receive an additional $5,000, and the eventual national winner will receive $25,000 towards his respective charity.