The Patriots "NFL Man of the Year" Nominee Is...
Each season the NFL presents the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to a player who has had a significant impact on his community. This year, the New England Patriots team nominee is seventh-year, All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Here is the team's official endorsement:
Rob Gronkowski has been a larger than life presence in the New England sports world since being drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Now in his seventh season, the 6'6'', 265-pound tight end is a four-time Pro Bowler and has been selected as a First-team All-Pro four times. He led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 2011 and was named the 2014 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after he returned from a season-ending injury in 2013 to help lead the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl title.
Rob's physical stature and impact on the football field is matched by his commitment to giving back to children and families off the field. Since he first arrived in New England, he has consistently been one of the most active players in the community. As part of the team's "Community Tuesdays", Rob can always be found bringing a smile to somebody's face. He has visited dozens of schools across the region to promote the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and to lead students through a PLAY 60 ultimate gym class. Rob has even helped to provide play spaces to children by building new playgrounds in underserved communities across New England.
During the holidays, Rob is always eager to spread some cheer to children and families in need. Whether it's helping to deliver more than 200 Thanksgiving meals to families in Boston, throwing a holiday party for 250 children or taking teenagers on a holiday shopping spree, he is always willing and able to put a smile on the faces of people who need it most.
Over the years, Rob has teamed with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to meet some of his biggest fans who are battling life-threatening illnesses. Each year, he welcomes children and their families to Gillette Stadium to offer his support and to clear their minds from their health complications. His commitment goes even deeper as he teams with One Mission, a local nonprofit organization, to shave his head each spring to raise money for pediatric cancer patients.
Football has always been a passion for Rob and through the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation, he is helping to share that passion with youth. His foundation is dedicated to inspiring youth to reach their potential by empowering them to be positively involved in sports, community activities, education and fitness. Through this charitable organization, Rob is helping youth stay actively involved in both school and sports while also providing them with the resources they need to follow their dreams. Over the years, Rob's foundation has provided underserved communities with new weight rooms and athletic equipment to help them to live a healthy lifestyle.
Rob was selected as a team captain this season and has been a leader on and off the field. His smile and his laugh are infectious as he brings joy to everyone he meets. We emphatically support Rob Gronkowski as our nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
According to the league website, "the winner will receive a total of $1 million donated in his name, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook across all NFL markets." This year's winner will be officially announced on February 4, 2017 during the "NFL Honors" primetime television special from 8-10pm EST on FOX.
To view the full list of NFL nominees, click HERE.