MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins announced today linebacker Jaelan Phillips as their 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 Award presented 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.
Since being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2021, Phillips has sought every opportunity to positively impact the South Florida community and beyond. From working with incarcerated youth to tackling homelessness, cancer and disease awareness, youth mentorship and supporting underserved communities, Phillips' has set himself apart in just his second season through the inclusivity of his efforts and his intentional investment in marginalized communities and people in need.
He learned about the opportunity to participate in the Dolphins Challenge Cancer event benefitting Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center his rookie year and found inspiration in his family's own battles with cancer. He signed up for the 100-mile ride, inspiring others to ride and fundraise. He totaled more than $3,000 and became one of the first two players to ever ride the 100-mile. This year, Phillips joined the Dolphins Challenge Cancer executive board. He will again participate in the 100-mile ride while also adding a leadership role in awareness, fundraising and growth of the event. Phillips has also visited Alex's Place at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to meet pediatric and adult cancer patients, inspired by the direct beneficiaries of DCC funds.
Phillips has also channeled his efforts into The VERB kind, an organization dedicated to the mentorship and empowerment of incarcerated youth. After an initial visit to the Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center as a rookie, Phillips took on an active role this year by working the recruit mentors and raise funds for programming. Phillips recruited his own teammates as well, bringing the Dolphins 2022 rookie class on two separate visits. He seeks to inspire others to find common ground with these young people and shares his own story of overcoming adversity to encourage them in their own journeys towards a better future.
Phillips has also become a fixture at Lotus House, a women and children's shelter in the Overtown, Miami neighborhood. Whether speaking to the kids living in the shelter, bonding through sports activities, uplift in the form of Halloween costumes and festivities or Thanksgiving cookie decorating, Phillips has been eager to serve his South Florida neighbors, especially ones so close to his alma mater at the University of Miami.
He has been committed to every team community event and has been an active member of the Social Impact Committee, a coalition founded by the players with goals to bridge the digital divide and serve as role models for South Florida students in the Values Matter program. If there is the opportunity to help someone in need, Phillips will find the resources, energy and opportunity to serve.
As a nominee, Phillips 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.
All 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVII. The 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVII, on NBC.
All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive up to a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 8th 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 or Twitter handle. The player whose unique mention is used the most between Dec. 6 and Jan. 8 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his 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.