Players who stand tall off as well as on the football field

For the past 36 years the National Football League has honored a player as its Man of the Year for both athletic excellence and involvement in the community. Among the greats who've been recognized with this award, now renamed the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in memory of the former Chicago Bears running back, are Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, and Franco Harris – all inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Last season, former teammates and best friends LaDanian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers and Drew Brees, now with the New Orleans Saints, became only the second pair to receive the award. Each has played an active role in promoting a variety of charities, service organizations, and other causes dedicated to youth. The NFL Man of the Year selections over the past 10 years, with their teams:

  • 2006: Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) LaDanian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers)
  • 2005: Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts)
  • 2004: Warrick Dunn (Atlanta Falcons)
  • 2003: Will Shields (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • 2002: Troy Vincent (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • 2001: Jerome Bettis (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • 2000: Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jim Flanigan (Chicago Bears)
  • 1999: Cris Carter (Minnesota Vikings)
  • 1998: Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins)
  • 1997: Troy Aikman (Dallas Cowboys)
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