It’s an award that recognizes a player’s hard work off the field- the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. Many well-deserving players have received this honor in the past, and now Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long has joined the list of charitable men.
Long was presented the award during a brief ceremony held prior to the start of Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Last year’s recipient, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, handed the award to Long after honoring him with a heartfelt speech.
Both on and off the field, Long has been a powerhouse for the Eagles organization. Football runs in his blood as he is the son of NFL Hall of Famer, Howie Long.
Last year, Long started his philanthropic efforts by donating his yearly salary to fund education initiatives in several cities that are near and dear to his heart- including Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Boston- where the defensive end has spent time playing his beloved sport.
He furthered his humanitarian endeavors this year by donating his paycheck from the first four games of the regular season to his literacy program, “First Quarter for Literacy.” It’s a campaign that Long started, along with his wife Megan and the United Way, to provide free books and other literacy support to families in need in the Philadelphia area and around the world.
Not only did he donate his first four game checks, he also offered to match any donations made to his foundation by an opponent up to $25,000.
Literacy isn’t Long’s only passion. He’s also passionate about supporting military veterans and providing clean water to underprivileged areas like East Africa. He scaled Mount Kilimanjaro alongside several other NFL players to raise funds for those in need.
The NFL donated $250,000 to Long’s foundation in honor of him receiving the Man of the Year award.
When Long was asked how he feels about receiving such a recognition, the Eagles player said he was “humbled” and “honored.”
“I think the other 31 nominees are remarkable men”, Long stated. “I’m excited to see if there’s synergy as a brotherhood in different causes that we are involved in.”
The other nominees included Buffalo Bills’ Lorenzo Alexander, Denver Broncos’ Von Miller, and Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott.