Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is a
finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the second time in
his career. Witten also was a finalist in 2007 when Jason Taylor won.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Browns tackle Joe Thomas are
the other finalists, announced at halftime of the AFC Championship. The
NFL will announce the winner Feb. 2, the night before Super Bowl XLVII,
during its NFL Honors prime-time special.
Witten is involved in a number of charities, but his passion is The
Jason Witten SCORE Foundation. SCORE, which stands for Support,
Community, Overcome, Rebuild, Educate, supports families affected by
He has funded several building projects in Texas and his native
Tennessee, and the SCOREkeepers program is a unique initiative placing
full-time, trained male mentors in battered women’s shelters throughout
Texas. The mentors demonstrate positive male behavior to the children in
these shelters in an effort to break the cycle of violence that plagues
families affected by abuse. JWSF has placed SCOREkeepers in six
shelters across Texas, and Witten hosts children from these shelters for
special events throughout the year.
The foundation’s newest domestic
violence prevention program, “Coaching Boys Into Men,” trains high
school coaches to educate their players on the dangers of dating
Witten set two NFL records this season for most catches by a tight
end in a game (18) and most catches by a tight end in a season (110).
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is based on a player's
community service as well as excellence on the field, is given
annually. The Cowboys have had two winners in the 43-year history of the
award: Roger Staubach won it in 1978 and Troy Aikman in 1997.
The Man of the Year’s designated charity receives a $20,000 donation
in his name. Charities selected by the other 31 team finalists each
receive a $1,000 donation. The three finalists for the award also
receive an additional $5,000 each.
-- Charean Williams