The NFL announced Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle CLINTON MCDONALD among the 32 players who have been named their team's Man of the Year. Representing the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact, these players are now eligible to win the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award *presented by Nationwide. The *Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field. The award, which was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton, is among the league's most prestigious honors. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community to be considered for the national award.
As one of the 32 team nominees, McDonald will receive a $50,000 donation to his MACCLID Foundation and an additional $50,000 donation to expand the league's Character Playbook initiative in the Tampa Bay market. Character Playbook, launched in April at the NFL Draft, is a national education initiative focused on youth character development and healthy relationships.
Three of the nominees will be selected as finalists for the national award. Finalists will be announced in January 2018 and the winner will be announced in Minneapolis at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 3, the night before Super Bowl LII, from 8-10 PM (ET and PT) on NBC.
On Sunday, the Buccaneers will also kick off the afternoon by welcoming back Legends who earned the distinguished honor as the team's Man of the Year. In addition, the team will continue the tradition of honoring local military and youth groups throughout the game.
HONORARY FLAG RUNNER: CLIFTON SMITH, 2009 BUCCANEERS MAN OF THE YEAR
For team introductions, Bucs LegendClifton Smith, a 2008 Pro Bowler, will lead players out of the tunnel as the Buccaneers' Honorary Flag Runner. Smith was the Buccaneers Man of the Year and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee during the 2009 season with the Buccaneers.
HONORARY GUEST OF THE GAME: RYAN NECE, 2005 BUCCANEERS MAN OF THE YEAR
Following player introductions, the Buccaneers will welcome to midfield Bucs Legend Ryan Nece.Nece was the Buccaneers Man of the Year and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee during the 2005 season and will serve as the team's Honorary Guest of the Game, joining the Buccaneers captains at midfield for the coin toss.
HALFTIME: BUCCANEERS HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCEMENT AND YOUTH FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE
At halftime of Sunday's contest, the Buccaneers will announce their 2017 High School Coach of the Year, presented by Tampa Electric Zap Cap Systems. The weekly winners of the 2017 Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week award, attending Sunday's game courtesy of Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter, will be invited to the field for the announcement. Determined by a fan vote, the winner will earn a $1,500 donation to his school's high school football program, in addition to the $2,000 donation earned from the Coach of the Week award.
The Buccaneers will also host more than 125 youth football players ages 7-10 to participate in a scrimmage. Fans at Raymond James Stadium will enjoy watching the Brandon Cowboys vs. Lakeland Jr. Spartans and the Oviedo Knights A vs. Oviedo Knights B compete on the same field as their favorite NFL team.**
HERO OF THE GAME: U.S. NAVY COMMANDER ED SOCHA*
Before kickoff, the Buccaneers will continue a tradition with the team's military *Hero of the Game. At every Buccaneers home game, a selected military member will be stationed on the Pirate Ship in Buccaneer Cove to ready the team for action. This week, the Buccaneers will honor United State Navy Commander, Ed Socha. Socha served in the 720th Squadron in the Navy during World War II. During this time, he was charged with providing dictation as an aide to Admiral Walter Anderson while aboard the U.S.S. Maryland at Pearl Harbor. One of Socha's duties involved aiding the communication between Admiral Anderson and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, including relaying the message of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Following the infamous attack, Socha took part in the historic survey of the Yangtze River in Asia before serving as the Executive Assistant to the Joints Chief of Staff in the Pentagon during the Kennedy Administration. For his bravery and commitment to service, Commander Socha earned the Navy SEALS Trident in recognition of his role in WWII. Commander Socha is a Life Member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
SALUTE TO SERVICE SUITE, SUPPORTED BY JABIL
At every Buccaneers home game, the team honors a distinguished group of military members with an exclusive gameday experience in the Salute to Service Suite, supported by Jabil. During a break in play, fans are encouraged to direct their attention to the pirate ship and join players and coaches in thanking local servicemen and servicewomen for their sacrifices, including:
- From the Army, Staff SergeantLeon Alexander Diaz and Specialist Andereous Foster
- From the Marines, Sergeant Major Christopher Reynosa
- From the Navy, Commander Brian Boothroyd and*Petty Officer First Class Justin Burnham*
- From the Air Force, Staff Sergeant* Justin Jett*
- From the Coast Guard, SeamanMichael Clark
COMMUNITY PLAYER TICKET PROGRAM
At every home game, Buccaneers players host fans from a number of non-profit organizations throughout the Tampa Bay area. Sunday's Community Player Ticket Spotlight is Pamphile's Pals. Veteran guard Kevin Pamphile plays an active role on and off the field as an advocate for education projects and STEM-based curriculum in the Tampa Bay community and in his parent's home country of Haiti. For the past three seasons, Pamphile has delivered school supplies and hygiene kits to students in Haiti and serves as the President of Athletes for Haiti. This past offseason, Pamphile was chosen by his peers as the team's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award for his inspiration, sportsmanship, and courage.
BUCS CARE 50/50 RAFFLE
On gameday, fans have the opportunity to participate in the Bucs Care Foundation 50/50 Raffle while supporting a worthwhile cause. Each raffle ticket purchased will go towards a huge cash prize, in which 50 percent of the net proceeds help support the team's 24 Buccaneers Academies and Bucs Care Foundation initiatives throughout Tampa Bay. The other 50 percent will go to one lucky winner. Tickets are available in-game at kiosks located in section 106, 115, 131, 140 and each club level as well as mobile sellers throughout the stadium and on the Buccaneers app. For a complete list of rules and regulations, locate a kiosk or mobile seller on game day. To learn more, visit www.buccaneers.com/5050. **
BUCS SQUAD EXPERIENCE & BUCS SQUAD TWO-MINUTE DRILL AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
The Tampa Bay BuccaneersBucs Squadis an exciting program designed to get the next generation of Bucs fans behind the bench and inside the huddle with their favorite NFL team. By becoming a Bucs Squad member, fans 14-and-under gain access to amazing gameday experiences. For more information and to sign up for the Bucs Squad, visit the Bucs SquadTwo-Minute Drill** from 11:30 a.m. until the end of the game in section 137.
The Bucs Squad Experience will be open 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in Lot 6D (Tampa Bay Blvd. between Gates C & D) for all children and families attending the game. The Bucs Squad Experience will include inflatable football activities, interactive PLAY 60 football clinics, as well as visits from Captain Fear (10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders (11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.) for children to enjoy free of charge.
BUCCANEERS ACADEMY GAMEDAY FOR KIDS GUESTS
The Bucs Care Foundation hosts 100 "Gameday for Kids" from the Buccaneers Academy program to promote academic achievement and positive behavior in children. Selected groups receive game tickets, t-shirts, food vouchers and Buccaneers flags by achieving goals set by their teachers. More than 16,000 youths and community members representing over 100 organizations from Tampa Bay have been rewarded through the annual program. This game's attendees will represent Bevis Elementary, Graham Elementaryand** Lithia Springs Elementary.
Through theBuccaneers Academyprogram, the team provides resources, enhanced curriculum, and hands-on participation from Buccaneers players and cheerleaders to over 16,000 underserved students and 2,200 teachers at 24 elementary schools the team has adopted throughout Hillsborough County. Each of the schools in the Buccaneers Academy program, most of which are Title I schools, has also received a court-sized shade cover that provides an improved environment for students to safely participate in physical health and wellness activities.
**Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, coaches, cheerleaders, alumni, and staff have an active role in community improvement through a variety of youth health and education initiatives, family outreach, and military support. Innovative partnerships between the Bucs Care Foundation and local nonprofit organizations provide assistance to thousands of Central Florida residents each year. Glazer Family Foundation initiatives including the Glazer Family Foundation Vision Mobile and the Glazer Children's Museum continue to enhance learning opportunities for Bay Area youths. To learn more, visit www.buccaneers.com/community.