The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today Mike Evans as its nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Awardpresented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league's 32 nominees were announced today.
"Being nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year is overwhelming – it's a big deal," said Evans. "I never thought I could be a nominee. To be in the same conversation as other players who do tremendous things in their community, I'm truly honored."
Even before being drafted by the Buccaneers in 2014, Evans knew when given the opportunity he wanted to give back to those less fortunate. The Galveston, Texas native continues to find ways to give back to the Tampa Bay community and his home state of Texas.
This December, Evans celebrated the two-year anniversary of the Mike Evans Family Foundation, a foundation he created with a goal to support educational development and assist students from low-income families. The foundation also supports women and families affected by domestic violence.
Every holiday season, the Mike Evans Family Foundation hosts 'Catch for Christmas', a three-day event dedicated to fans and recognizing scholar students from low-income families. This past Sunday, Evans gave tickets to 24 children from the Boys and Girls club of Tampa Bay to attend the Buccaneers game against the Colts. On Monday, he hosted a celebrity bowling fundraiser, and less than 12 hours later he surprised 13 kids with breakfast, a tour of the practice facility and gifts from their wish list.
Earlier this year, Evans hosted a free football camp in Galveston, Texas at the same high school he attended from 2008-2011, Ball High School. He and his wife, Ashli, followed it by presenting a $40,000 check from their Mike Evans Family Foundation to Texas A&M. Half of the total amount was used to establish $2,000 scholarships for 10 students through the Scholarships and Financial Aid office, and the other half was used to create two $10,000 Foundation Excellence Award (FEA) through the Texas A&M Foundation. Evans' foundation also donated $25,000 to USF to start a scholarship fund for local students in need of financial assistance.
Evans' desire to give back does not end with his foundation work. Many of his contributions to the communities closest to him are not publicized. In addition to his annual free camp held at Ball High School, he donated $17,000 to for new uniforms and $20,000 to the school's project graduation. And as an active member in the Buccaneers Social Justice initiative, Evans has donated $23,000 to families affected by gun violence.
As a nominee, Evans will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
For the second year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIV.
The 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV, on FOX. NFL Honors will be at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.
All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 5th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 12 and Jan. 12 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
Below is a list of Buccaneers Man of the Year nominees, dating back to 2000:
2019 WR Mike Evans
2018 DT Gerald McCoy
2017 DT Clinton McDonald
2016 WR Vincent Jackson
2015 WR Vincent Jackson
2014 WR Vincent Jackson
2013 WR Vincent Jackson
2012 G Davin Joseph
2011 G Davin Joseph
2010 LB Adam Hayward
2009 RB Clifton Smith
2008 QB Jeff Garcia
2007 K Matt Bryant
2006 CB Ronde Barber
2005 LB Ryan Nece
2004 LB Shelton Quarles
2003 S John Lynch
2002 S John Lynch
2001 S John Lynch
2000 LB Derrick Brooks*
*(NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner)