Eli Manning named co-winner of Walter Payton Man of the Year Award


Eli Manning requests no television cameras be present when he is in the community doing charitable work. It’s because he doesn’t want attention or accolades. The focus, he reasons, should be on the work itself.

Although the New York Giants quarterback is camera shy when it comes to charitable deeds, he has earned the respect of his teammates and the NFL community at large. At the NFL Honors in Houston, Manning was recognized for his charitable work by being named one of the winners of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Manning is the first Giant to win the award in its 47-year history. He shares this year’s honor with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Manning and Fitzgerald were the first and third overall picks in the 2004 NFL Draft respectively.


“I told Larry earlier this week, the last time we were up for an award together was the 2003 Heisman Trophy,” Manning said. “And it didn’t go well for either of us that night (Fitzgerald finished second and Manning finished third to Oklahoma’s Jason White). To come up here 13 years later, and be up for an award, and win it together, is very special.”

The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes an NFL player for excellence on and off the field. It was established in 1970 as the NFL Man of the Year Award. The award was renamed to honor the Chicago Bears running back after his death in 1999. Payton himself was the recipient of the award in 1977.

“This is very special,” Manning said. “To be mentioned in the same sentence with…