For the second consecutive year, G Davin Joseph has been named the 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Man of the Year. Joseph's selection makes him the team's nominee for this year's NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and a $1,000 donation will be made in his name to the Davin Joseph Events for Cause Foundation.
"It's an honor to be able to represent the Buccaneers as the Man of the Year," said Joseph. "In 2012, even though my participation on the field has been minimal, my participation in the community has been at its highest level yet. I work with some outstanding men in our locker room to try to help our community grow. It's an honor to win this award two consecutive years, but without having a strong locker room and a strong community, it wouldn't be possible."
The Man of the Year Award, which was created in 1970 and was renamed after Payton in 1999, is designed to recognize players for off-the-field community service as well as playing excellence. Joseph, a Pro Bowler in 2011, missed the entire 2012 regular season due to injury, but that only caused him to redouble his work off the field.
"The thing that I really was impressed with Davin is, in his absence of playing, just all of the community service he did," said Head Coach Greg Schiano. "I know he's always done that, but he took it up a notch."
Since joining the Buccaneers as a first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Joseph has played the role of a consummate professional, both on and off the field. The two-time Pro Bowl guard (2008, 2011) has played in 84 games and started 83, anchoring an offensive line that has become one of the team's most consistent units in recent years. Primed to help lead a rejuvenated Buccaneers squad in 2012, Joseph suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason, bringing his 2012 campaign to an end. However, he remained a committed teammate this fall, dedicating his efforts to rehabilitation and returning in 2013 even stronger than before. Equally evident has been Joseph's strengthened presence in the community, demonstrating his desire to continually make a positive impact on those less fortunate.
Beyond excelling on the gridiron, Joseph has been a leader in communities throughout Florida dating back to his early years as a Buccaneer. In 2007, he helped develop "Turkey Time with the O-Line," a holiday initiative sponsored by the team's offensive line which has now distributed more than 3,500 Thanksgiving meals to needy families in the Tampa Bay area. In 2010, along with teammate Jeremy Trueblood, Joseph sponsored and participated in a weekly $1,000 surprise shopping spree with different underprivileged families throughout the season. During the 2010 holidays, Joseph also spearheaded an effort to host a surprise holiday outing and gift event for 26 single mothers and their families suffering from domestic abuse. And since 2007, the veteran offensive lineman has provided cancer patients, underprivileged students, and deserving charities with tickets and food vouchers to Buccaneers home games through Davin's Dream Team, his gameday ticket program.
In 2011, Joseph established the Davin Joseph Events for Cause Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to serving urban areas in two cities close to his heart: his hometown of Hallandale Beach, FL, and Tampa. His foundation is devoted to enhancing athletic and performing arts programs in public schools by instituting safe, structured after-school programs, enhancing athletic facilities, and encouraging greater community involvement. In 2011, Joseph adopted Blake High School and Middleton High School in Tampa, sponsoring pregame meals for the football teams, attending home football games and making significant donations to the schools' athletic and performing arts programs. His efforts included a $10,000 donation to Blake's weight room facility, which has received significant upgrades and renovations thanks to his gift. The foundation's efforts increased in 2012 when Joseph also began sponsoring pregame meals for the schools' girls and boys basketball and track and field teams, as well as providing funding for sports travel competitions and athletic drinks for students for the entire year. Joseph also adopted his former high school in South Florida, Hallandale High School, which now receives similar support for its athletic and performing arts programs as well as a holiday college tour for students, sponsored by the foundation.
"Being able to make a difference in the community has been great this year because I've been able to work with so many different organizations - some small, some large, some in Tampa, and some in neighboring communities, all with the same overall focus of giving back," Joseph said. "Whether it's been through volunteering, mentoring, fundraising, or even donating personal dollars, I've had great joy this year in working with so many different organizations and meeting a lot of different people that have the same love of giving back as I do."
For the past three years, Joseph has served as the Buccaneers' spokesman for the NFL/United Way's LIVE: UNITED campaign, promoting volunteerism and service throughout the Tampa Bay community. His partnership this year has gained significant recognition throughout the Bay area for his active role in promoting TEAM DAVIN, a call-to-action effort for fans to join forces with United Way Suncoast to build the next generation of volunteers, mentors, and tutors. The national platform, which includes one player from every NFL team, is led by Joseph, who recruited over 3,500 volunteers this season - more than double the mark of the second place player on United Way's TEAM NFL leaderboard and more than 25 other players' recruitments combined. His efforts have included media outreach, school visits, and even greeting fans outside Raymond James Stadium before home games, requesting the support of Buccaneers fans in his efforts to develop a "pay it forward" mindset throughout Tampa Bay.
In addition to spearheading his own community initiatives and foundation efforts, Joseph has participated in a variety of philanthropic efforts in Florida. He often visits local schools, promoting the NFL's Play 60 initiative and encouraging physical activity and healthy living. He has supported the Mayor's Beautification Program in Tampa, having painted objects auctioned off for charity to improve local beautification efforts. Joseph has also served as a celebrity coach at the Pop Warner Adrenalyn Bowl, coaching youth during the Pop Warner championship football game in February 2010. For all of his efforts, Joseph has earned this nomination by embracing his role as a leader both on and off the field.
Each NFL team selects a local Man of the Year finalist to be eligible to receive the national award. Three finalists will be selected, each of whom will receive a donation to the 501(c)(3) organization of his choice. A blue ribbon panel will select the Walter Payton Man of the Year winner from the three finalists. The national winner, who will be announced at the second annual NFL Honors award show on February 2 in New Orleans, will also receive a larger donation to the charity of his choice.
Below is a list of recent Buccaneers Man of the Year winners, dating back to 2000:
G Davin Joseph
G Davin Joseph
LB Adam Hayward
RB Clifton Smith
QB Jeff Garcia
K Matt Bryant
CB Ronde Barber
LB Ryan Nece
LB Shelton Quarles
S John Lynch
S John Lynch
S John Lynch
LB Derrick Brooks*
*National Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner