LAKE FOREST – Every team in the NFL has the chance to nominate one player for a coveted award in the National Football League. But you could make an argument that it means something a little more when it comes to the team in Chicago.
After all, the man it’s named after made his mark both on and off the field in the Windy City.
That’s why Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, named after the iconic Hall of Fame running back who is one of the pillars of the franchise, carries quite a bit of significance with the Bears.
Now Trey Burton becomes the latest to carry on the legacy of “Sweetness” within the franchise.
On Thursday the Bears officially nominated the tight end for the award, which honors a player for their community service along withtheir play on the field. Jarrett Payton, the son of Walter Payton & CLTV Sports Feed/WGN anchor, made the announcement to Burton personally after a practice at Halas Hall.
In his first season with the Bears after signing as a free agent from the Eagles, Burton has taken part in a fundraiser the entire season for the International Justice Mission. He pledged to donate $1,000 after every catch and $2,500 after each touchdown in 2018 to the organization which focuses on social justice and ending slave trade around the world.
So far in 2018, his performance on the field has helped to raise over $50,000 for the organization.
Burton also takes part in the Bears’ social justice committee, the first of its kind in the NFL, in which the team has raised of $813,850 for local organizations.
Awarded since 1970 and given in Payton’s name since his death in 1999, a nominee is chosen on each of the 32 NFL teams. The winner will be announced at the NFL Awards on February 2nd at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the night before Super Bowl XLIII.
Payton himself won the award in 1997, with Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990), Jim Flanigan (2000), and Charle Tillman joining him as winners of the award.