49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes has been nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the only league award that recognizes a player's off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence. The annual award is named for the legendary Chicago Bears running back who passed in 1999.
Spikes has participated in a wide range of community events throughout his career and started his own foundation, 51 Ways Foundation, to further give back to those in need. His foundation was started in 2004 to support families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders through financial, spiritual and physical resources. During his time with the 49ers, Spikes has participated in community relations events related to the team that range from hospital visits, to stocking food boxes for food banks in San Francisco, to shopping with youth during the holidays for their families.
One member from each of the 32 NFL teams is nominated for the award. Three finalists for the award will be announced during the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 23. The winner of the award will be announced and recognized during the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 6.
All nominees will receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 donation in their name. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will receive the Gladiator statue, an original art creation by the noted sculptor, Daniel Schwartz. In addition, the player's favorite charity will receive an additional $20,000 donation in his name.