The NFL’s most prestigious honor isn’t the Most Valuable Player Award, it’s the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been nominated to receive it in 2021.
“It’s an honor to be recognized with the very best in the league for the impact that we make in our communities,” Evans said about being nominated for the award. “I’m blessed to play football for a living, but the true value of our work comes in how we uplift those in need of support. To be nominated three years in a row, it’s extremely humbling.”
A man of the people, Evans is no stranger to being praised for what he does both on and off the field.
In a league full of people playing the game, Evans does it right. This is why this is his third-straight year being nominated by his team for his work with the community, especially through his Mike Evans Family Foundation.
Evans and wife Ashli created the foundation four years ago to support students and families in need.
While the star wide receiver has done much of his work in the Tampa area, he’s also never forgotten where he came from, reaching back to his hometown of Galveston, Texas when the opportunities arise.
But his work off the field has gone beyond even those familiar grounds.
Via the team’s press release, “Lending support to those in need is not a trendy move for Evans – it’s the norm. Over the years he has raised money for victims of the Jacksonville Landing shooting; covered funeral costs for a Florida family that received just $4 from the state following a wrongful death suit; and provided financial support for a former classmate who suffered serious injuries. Evans’ foundation hosts an annual bowling event and golf tournament to raise money and fund need-based scholarships for students at the University of South Florida. To further his foundation’s mission of serving students from low-income families, Evans also donated $40,000 to establish scholarship funds at his alma mater, Texas A&M. These efforts build on the numerous “silent” acts of kindness Evans has carried out over the years as he remains committed to serving others, and not the fanfare associated with it, in his daily life.”
Evans joins names like Hall of Fame safety John Lynch and wide receiver Vincent Jackson who represented the Bucs franchise for three consecutive years as nominees for the award. Jackson was nominated four consecutive times, from 2013-2016.
If he wins, he’ll join Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks who currently stands as the only winner of the award.
For the remainder of the season, Evans will wear a helmet decal identifying him, and recognizing the player, as one of 32 nominees from across the league.
He’ll also receive a $40,000 donation in his name to the charity of his choice, and if he wins, will get another $250,000 donation to go towards all the good work he’s doing in several communities.
All donations coming courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
You can vote for Evans to win the award using #WPMOYChallenge Evans or @MikeEvans13_, on Twitter.
The full list of nominees can be found, here.