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Harrison Phillips honored as Buffalo’s Walter Payton Man of the Year

The defensive tackle runs a nonprofit to help children with intellectual disabilities.

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips prides himself on his charitable work and the time he spends volunteering in both Western New York and his hometown of Omaha, NE.

For his efforts, Phillips was named Buffalo’s Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient. The award recognizes and honors one player from each NFL team who makes an impact not only on the field, but off the field through community service activities and giving back to his community.

“It’s a privilege to represent the Bills and one of, if not the most, distinguished honors I’ve received in my life. ... There were so many hard things I’ve had to go through and still am. But being able to give back and serving the community and working with some of the kids I get to work with, wipes away the pain and gives you great perspective on things that are really going outside of there,” Phillips, in his third year with the Bills, told reporters Thursday.

Phillips runs the nonprofit organization, the Playmakers Organization, where he gives back to children with intellectual disabilities. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Phillips has donated more than $10,000 worth of meals to health care workers. He also has urged residents of Omaha to wear face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to contain the spread of the virus through informational videos.

Besides arranging virtual visits with patients in the pediatric ward, Phillips also made a difference in the lives of students in the Buffalo Public School District, helping students get access to internet service.

“Very unselfish in his approach,” head coach Sean McDermott said of Phillips. “Loves God, loves people. I think to make life simple, that’s great. . . . When you poll people of some of the most respected players in our locker room, I think you’d find Harry at the top of the list.”

Phillips will receive $40,000 to go towards the charity of his choice as Buffalo’s Walter Payton Man of the Year honoree. He will now go up against the NFL’s other 31 honorees, competing for the grand prize of having $250,000 donated to their charity. During Super Bowl week, the Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner will be announced.

Members of #BillsMafia can support Phillips by voting on Twitter through Jan. 17 using the #WPMOYChallenge and Phillips. Whoever sees the most usage of the #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter will be crowned the Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Phillips earned the honor for Buffalo after linebacker Lorenzo Alexander was the Bills’ recipient each of the last three seasons.