The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today safetyAntoine Winfield Jr. as their nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide. Considered the league’s most prestigious honor, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league’s 32 nominees were announced today.
“It means everything to me to be nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year,” said Antoine Winfield Jr. “Every year, the organization has the opportunity to nominate an individual and this was a goal that I set for myself. It’s great to not only be nominated, but to have the platform of this great award to now shed light on some of the most pressing issues in our community.”
One of the most impactful players on the field for the Buccaneers, Winfield Jr. has distinguished himself off the gridiron through a genuine desire to make a lasting impact throughout his community. The Pro Bowl safety has found ways, both big and small, to affect individuals and bring about positive change by utilizing his platform and representing the best of the Buccaneers and the National Football League.
Upon entering the league in 2020, Winfield Jr. has been intentional on elevating his community efforts year over year, particularly with local foster children. Through his work with two local nonprofits, Heart Gallery of Tampa and A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, Winfield Jr. has made it a mission of his that kids in the foster care system are able to have the same experiences as other children their age, planning and funding several outings across Tampa Bay to provide such experiences.
A few examples of such outings include organizing a Halloween celebration with A Kid’s Place, taking 55 children housed at the facility trick-or-treating throughout a neighboring residential area and gifting each with gift cards for food. Along with his fiancé Teesa, the pair have previously taken a group of young women to buy makeup, arranged a spa day and orchestrated an outing at a local trampoline activity park.
Throughout his tenure, Winfield Jr. has supported numerous Buccaneers team programs in the community, including the team’s Youth Leadership Program. Launched in 2020, this player-led program is a comprehensive effort to engage with the local community through unique player and staff mentorships, leadership development, and community outreach opportunities. This past year, Winfield Jr. joined the team’s Social Justice Board, part of a group that spearheaded the Youth Leadership Program to double its numbers while engaging in a service project with Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough to fund the cost of two Habitat homes in the Temple Terrace community.
Since his arrival in Tampa, Winfield Jr. has placed an emphasis on impacting local youth and through the Buccaneers Community Ticket Program, has provided experiences to children from Heart Gallery of Tampa to attend Buccaneers home games.
On the field, Winfield Jr. has established himself as a vital piece of the Buccaneers defense. Since being selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft (45th overall), he has started all 60 games, including playoffs, of his career. As a rookie he helped lead the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title in franchise history, recording an interception off Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes in that matchup to become the seventh rookie or first-year player in NFL history to record an interception in the Super Bowl. This season, he has already set a new career mark in forced fumbles and passes defended, while matching his previous single-season high in fumble recoveries and interceptions.
As a nominee, Winfield Jr. will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field. All 32 nominees will be highlighted and recognized for their important work during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. The 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally on CBS on Thursday, Feb. 8.
Each nominee will receive up to a $55,000 donation, and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are made possible by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign and online contest that allows fans to show support for their favorite Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee. Fans can vote for Winfield Jr. on X (formerly Twitter) by posting#WPMOYChallenge Winfield Jr. or #WPMOYChallenge @AntoineWJr11 to support A Kid’s Place Tampa Bay or by voting directly on NFL.com/ManOfTheYear. The nominee who receives the most collective hashtag mentions and votes will win an additional $35,000 donation from Nationwide to the charity of their choice, with the runner-up receiving $10,000 and the third-place winner receiving $5,000. Charity Challenge voting takes place from Dec. 5th to Jan. 8th.
Below is a list of Buccaneers Man of the Year nominees, dating back to 2000:
2023 S Antoine Winfield Jr.
2022 DT William Gholston
2021 WR Mike Evans
2020 WR Mike Evans
2019 WR Mike Evans
2018 DT Gerald McCoy
2017 DT Clinton McDonald
2016 WR Vincent Jackson
2015 WR Vincent Jackson
2014 WR Vincent Jackson
2013 WR Vincent Jackson
2012 G Davin Joseph
2011 G Davin Joseph
2010 LB Adam Hayward
2009 RB Clifton Smith
2008 QB Jeff Garcia
2007 K Matt Bryant
2006 CB Ronde Barber
2005 LB Ryan Nece
2004 LB Shelton Quarles
2003 S John Lynch
2002 S John Lynch
2001 S John Lynch
2000 LB Derrick Brooks*
*NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner
(Courtesy of the Buccaneers Communications Department.)