The National Football League has been honoring a Man of the Year since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Awarded to a player who exemplifies excellence both on and off the field through volunteering in their community, the award was renamed in 1999 in honor of the late Bears running back Walter Payton.
This prestigious award is given to one player in the NFL each season. All 32 NFL teams nominate one player before the league narrows it down to three finalists and announces the award at the NFL awards ceremony the night before the Super Bowl.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, their 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee is defensive captain Cameron Heyward.
.@CamHeyward is our nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, presented by @Nationwide.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 7, 2021
RETWEET & reply with “#WPMOYChallenge Heyward” to help him earn a $25,000 contribution to the charity of his choice. #WPMOY
: https://t.co/n07CmHpLGz pic.twitter.com/piBTqahkqu
Heyward, who started the “Heyward House” charity, has become a fixture in the city of Pittsburgh helping as many at-risk youth as he possibly can. The Heyward House has done a tremendous job in helping organizations such as: Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, DKMS, KidsVoice, Smyrna Stars Baksetball Club and other after school fitness programs.
Previous nominees by the Pittsburgh Steelers are Vance McDonald in 2020, Maurkice Pouncey in 2019 and Cameron Heyward again the previous two years in 2017 and 2018. Four different players on the Steelers have gone on to ultimately win the award with the most recent being Jerome Bettis in 2001. Other award winners were Lynn Swann in 1981, Joe Greene in 1979, and Franco Harris in 1976.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for their Week 13 matchup in Minnesota against the Vikings on Thursday Night Football.