The Indianapolis Colts have nominated Shaquille Leonard for Walter Payton Man of the Year, the league’s most prestigious award.
The 2022 season hasn’t been what Shaquille Leonard hoped it would be on the field. Coming off his best season as a professional in 2021, everyone was prepared for Leonard to further cement himself as the best linebacker in football while helping the Indianapolis Colts contend. Unfortunately, Leonard’s year has been filled with multiple surgeries and he’s only been on the field for 74 snaps spanned over three games. However, he has not allowed the injury setbacks to stop his impact off the field.
On Tuesday, all 32 teams nominated a player for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Per the NFL’s website, the WPMOY award is “considered the league’s most prestigious honor,” and it “recognizes NFL players who have exhibited excellence on the field, and whose passion to impact lives extends beyond the game.” For 2022, the Colts felt Shaquille Leonard best represented that.
Colts nominate Shaquille Leonard for Walter Payton Man of the Year award
In Indianapolis’ official announcement, the team highlights all of the work that Leonard does with his Maniac Foundation, saying:
"Leonard has made a difference in three communities which he calls, or has called, home: Indianapolis, Orangeburg, S.C. (home of his alma mater, South Carolina State), and Lake View, S.C (his hometown). Tapping into his deep knowledge of each of those communities’ needs, and with over $680,000 raised to support them through the Maniac Foundation, Leonard understands how to best target his initiatives and donations to make the most significant impact possible."
In addition to his work in various communities, Leonard has become a vocal spokesperson for mental health. He’s done so by opening up himself to the world and sharing the stories and struggles that he has battled. In conjunction with the Colts and the Irsay family, Leonard has done a phenomenal job of Kicking the Stigma.
The winner of the award will be named at the NFL Honors, the NFL’s annual award show held on Super Bowl eve. The winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice, and the chosen charities of the rest of the nominees will receive up to $40,000. There’s also a charity challenge where fans can get involved.
On Twitter, fans can post #WPMOYChallenge along with the nominee’s name or Twitter handle and that essentially counts as a vote. The three nominees with the most mentions will all be rewarded with additional donations. So to help Shaquille Leonard in this challenge, simply tweet #WPMOYChallenge and his name.