Buffalo Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins has been announced as the team’s 2023 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. The annual award, which began in 1970, “acknowledges NFL players who excel on the field and demonstrate a passion for creating a lasting positive impact beyond the game.”
Each Man of the Year nominees receives up to $55,000 in a donation to the charity of their choosing. with the winner receiving a donation of $250,000 (made possible by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide) to the charity of their choice.
Also joining Dawkins among the list of this year’s nominees is former Buffalo Bills and now-current Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. — the son of former Bills cornerback Antoine Winfield. Like each of the nominees, Phillips’ philanthropic work as well Winfield’s endeavors to support foster care are also both worthy of your consideration, should you choose to support more than one finalist.
Cast your daily Nationwide Charity Challenge vote for Dion Dawkins here and on Twitter, beginning December 8
#WPMOYChallenge | @DDawkins66
Award winner or not, Dion Dawkins is already a winner to Bills Mafia. Dawkins is a man so full of heart and compassion to help better the lives of those less fortunate that one can’t help but rally around his off-field community efforts.
This marks the second consecutive year that Dawkins has been nominated as one of 32 finalists for the NFL’s most prestigious award. Dawkins’ philanthropy and community service efforts knows no bounds. He wears the pride of giving back to the Western New York community on his sleeve and within his generous heart. Through his foundation, Dion’s Dreamers, Dawkins provides “mentorship and support to those in underserved communities, as well as those in a place of mental, financial, or physical hardship. Dion’s Dreamers also aims to advocate for vulnerable populations by increasing awareness of the environmental issues that directly affect their communities,” which included his efforts to help victims and their families who were affected following the racially motivated mass shooting at Buffalo’s Jefferson Ave Tops last May.
Dawkins continues to serve the Buffalo-area community as a mentor to the area’s youth — working in tandem with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization of Buffalo. He also continues finding creative way to inspire change through events to help raise funds benefiting those most in need within and around the City of Good Neighbors. Two weeks ago, Dawkins held his first annual talent show in Buffalo to benefit Dion’s Dreamers. The idea came to him after one of the team’s now-famous locker room karaoke sessions. Earlier this year in Buffalo, Dawkins and many of his teammates were in Buffalo for the second annual Dion Dawkins Charity Cornhole Tournament. With over 1,000 participants on hand, the Shnowman’s second sport raised substantial funds for his foundation.
As part of his recognition this season, Dawkins — as well as the 31 other nominees — will wear a notable Man of the Year helmet decal beginning Week 14 and continuing through the end of the 2023 NFL season.
Should Dawkins win this year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, he’d join a list of 56 NFL legends and players who have received the esteemed award, including three current players in Dak Prescott (2022), Russell Wilson (2020), and Calais Campbell (2019). Active players who are honored with the award wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys during the remainder of their careers in recognition of their commitment to helping others, inspiring change, and making a positive impact on the communities where they live and work.
Through the 2023 Nationwide Charity Challenge, fans are eligible to vote on Twitter by posting the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge along with the last name/Twitter handle of their preferred player (For Dawkins that looks like: #WPMOYChallenge | @DDawkins66 ). You can also vote directly at NFL.com/ManOfTheYear. Per the NFL news release:
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.
Additionally, fans can show further support for their favorite nominee by participating in an online campaign fundraising initiative (bolstered by Nationwide) to directly support (with 100% of proceeds benefiting) each nominee’s preferred non-profit and/or charity through fundraising platform Alltroo. Fans who choose to support their favorite player nominee will have the chance to win special prizes and experiences. For more information, visit Alltroo.com
This season’s winner will be announced during the NFL Honors award ceremony, airing nationally on CBS Thursday, February 8.
The winner will be able to designate $250,000 towards the charity of his choice, while the other 31 nominees will have a $50,000 donation made to their charity. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.