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Bess Named Dolphins Nominee For NFL Man Of The Year Award

Posted Dec 31, 2011

Since joining the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2008, wide receiver Davone Bess has made an impact both on and off the field. A native of Oakland, California the fourth year pro has become a fixture in the South Florida community through various team sponsored programs and more recently with the creation of The Bess Route Foundation. For his dedication to excellence on and off the field, Bess has been selected as the Miami Dolphins Man of the Year and a nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Along with frequently speaking to kids at local schools and libraries and attending numerous charity events throughout the year, Davone participates in the Miami Dolphins Foundation Sun Life Rising Star Grants which includes judging and visiting the winning organization and student and speaking to all of the winners and organizations at their National Summit. In addition to spending countless hours of his time with various organizations and causes, Davone also donates money to the Miami Dolphins Team Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway and the Team Holiday Toy Event. Davone along with his fellow wide receivers also purchase 20 tickets per game for children to attend Dolphins games as part of the All Community Team.

In 2010, Davone took an additional step to leave a lasting imprint in community when he started The Bess Route Foundation, which is dedicated to shaping positive lifestyle changes for underprivileged children in the South Florida community. During the 2011 season the foundation, through a partnership with Broward County Schools, developed the Bess Friends Peer mentoring Program. The program selects High School students from eight participating schools and pairs the students with elementary school children from a neighboring school. The program aims to provide the younger children with positive examples they can relate to and to develop the high school students as community leaders.

The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is given annually by the National Football League honoring a player's volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field. Prior to 1999, it was called simply the NFL Man of the Year Award. Shortly after Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton died (having been the 1977 recipient himself), the award was renamed to honor his legacy as both a great player and a humanitarian.

Each year, a winner is selected from 32 nominees from the 32 different teams. A panel of judges, which includes the commissioner of the NFL, Connie Payton (widow of Walter Payton), the previous year's winner and a number of former players, selects the winner of the award. The Man of the Year winner receives a $25,000 donation in his name to a charity of his choice. The other 31 finalists also receive donations in their name of $1,000 each to charities of their choice.

The Dolphins have had three players win the NFL Man of the Year award, Dwight Stephenson (1985), Dan Marino (1998) and Jason Taylor (2007).