Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell will be the recipient of what the NFL considers the most prestigious award in the league — the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. The award is named after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.
“Calais Campbell’s impact extends far beyond the field, into communities throughout Phoenix, Jacksonville and beyond,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a press release. “During his 12 seasons in the league, he has been a tremendous role model for the youth he serves through his CRC Foundation and is incredibly deserving of the league’s most prestigious honor.”
"Everybody, and I mean everybody, can give back. Wherever you are in your life, reach back and help someone."— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) February 2, 2020
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year @CalaisCampbell is an inspiration to us all. pic.twitter.com/Rw2HcIuipc
Campbell has been nominated for the award two other times in his career, in 2011 and 2014 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. Campbell wins the award a year after Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long. A full list of the past winners can be viewed here. His contributions on the field for the Jaguars during his three years have been well documented. For the third-straight year Campbell was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster, winning the defensive MVP for his contributions to a game-winning sack-fumble-touchdown, in 2017 Campbell was named first-team All Pro at the defensive end position, and second-team All Pro at the defensive tackle position.
Campbell accounted for 6.5 sacks, 37 solo tackles, and two forced fumbles in 2019 along with playing and starting in all 16 regular season games for the Jaguars. The heart and soul of the team’s defense, Campbell has exuded leadership among his peers and within the team’s locker room since his arrival in 2017.
An impressive player on the field, Campbell is an even more impressive person off the field. Along with the contributions made through the CRC Foundation, named after his late father Charles who passed away in 2003, Campbell started a Season of Giving this season. The Season of Giving is a fundraising campaign based on his on-field performance.
Campbell’s final contributions during the season amounted to $80,000 to four organizations, one representing each month of the 2019 season. These included Feeding Northeast (September), the Clara White Mission (October), the Wounded Warrior Project (November) and the United Way of Northeast Florida (December). Each organization received $20,000.
Just prior to his return to his hometown of Denver, Colorado, when the Jaguars faced off against the Denver Broncos in week three of the regular season, Campbell contributed an additional $5,000 to several Denver-based charities: the Beckwourth Outdoor Education, Denver Police Athletic League, Hiawatha Davis Rec Center — where the defensive lineman spent time at as a kid —, and the Rose Andom Center. This brought his Season of Giving to a staggering $100,000.
Campbell also worked with the Jaguars foundation in 2019 giving his time and talents to the local community which included hosting 250 kids for a youth football and STEM class, visiting local military installations during Salute to Service week or making speaking appearances at local schools.
”Campbell is an inspiration to us all. He’s an awesome leader on and off the field, using his time and talent to make a positive difference for others,” said Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer Ramon Jones. “Nationwide congratulates Campbell on being selected among the best-of-the-best for this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.”
Campbell has brought smiles to the faces of many within the Jacksonville community, and his contributions are as lengthy and impressive as his 12-year career in the NFL. Campbell will receive a donation of $250,000, which will go to a charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
It should also be noted that Campbell is also the three-time winner of the PFWA Jax chapter Good Guy Award, voted on by Jacksonville’s local media.