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The prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award historically recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each year, the Denver Broncos are proud to nominate one player who has had a significant, positive impact on his community.

Quarterback John Elway is the only Broncos player to win the national award (1992).

2017 Denver Broncos Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year: CB Chris Harris Jr.

The Denver Broncos named CB Chris Harris Jr. the team's 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award recipient for his outstanding leadership both on the field and in the community.

Harris Jr. and his wife, Leah, started the Chris Harris Jr. Foundation in 2012 to provide underprivileged youth with unique opportunities so they can more adequately achieve their goals. Through his foundation, Harris Jr. has established partnerships with notable national and local organizations, including the Denver Children’s Home (DCH), which helps kids who have survived trauma, neglect and abuse confront serious mental health challenges. The Chris Harris Jr. Foundation has positively impacted hundreds of kids and families through various programs and events supporting DCH.

Since 2013, Harris Jr. has supported various statewide and nationwide initiatives to speak out against domestic violence, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s “How I See DV” campaign and the NFL’s NO MORE movement. During the 2017 Season, the Broncos tapped Harris Jr. for a statewide PSA in partnership with “Stand Up Colorado,” a collaborative, multi-year relationship violence prevention campaign spearheaded by the Colorado Attorney General that goes beyond public awareness to alter behavior and affect long-term social change.

This summer, Harris Jr. joined Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock in launching Mentor Colorado’s #MentoringFlipped campaign to improve the number of quality mentoring relationships for young people. Harris Jr. was selected because of his commitment to mentoring underdogs and work with Big Brothers Big Sisters over the past four years.

Harris Jr. has also been one of the most consistent advocates for the team’s community platform, including his role as the player liaison for the team’s partnership with Denver Rescue Mission. He has received the Broncos Community Ambassador Award in 2015 and 2016 for his leadership in team initiatives.

In addition to his charitable work, Harris Jr.’s professionalism and respect for the game has been recognized on multiple occasions. In 2013, the Denver media selected Harris Jr. as the team’s Darrent Williams Good Guy Award winner. He was chosen as the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner by his teammates in 2014 after coming back from a torn ACL to start every game and earn his first Pro Bowl.

Other past Denver Broncos Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winners include:
2016: Virgil Green 2011: Wesley Woodyard 2006: Rod Smith
2015: David Bruton Jr. 2010: Wesley Woodyard 2005: John Lynch
2014: Ben Garland 2009: Champ Bailey 2004: Rod Smith
2013: Wesley Woodyard 2008: Champ Bailey 2003: Ian Gold
2012: Zane Beadles 2007: Domonique Foxworth 2002: Ed McCaffrey
Players across the NFL will wear custom cleats that reflect their commitment to charitable causes during Week 13 of the 2017 season. For more information on the My Cause My Cleats initiative, please click here.
2017 Denver Broncos Causes
(as of October 11, 2017)

C.J. Anderson - American Cancer Society

Garett Bolles - National Center for Learning Disabilities

Jamaal Charles - Special Olympics

Riley Dixon - Uplifting Athletes, Inc.

Max Garcia - Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

Adam Gotsis - Around The Campfire, Inc.

Virgil Green - Fuel Up to Play 60

Chris Harris Jr. - Chris Harris Jr. Foundation

Casey Kreiter - Children's Miracle Network

Ron Leary - Ron Leary REACH Foundation

Brandon Marshall - Williams-Marshall Cares Leadership Program

Isaiah McKenzie - The John A. Hartford Foundation

Brandon McManus - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Von Miller - Von's Vision

Brock Osweiler - Honor House

Domata Peko Sr. - Save the Children

Shane Ray - American Diabetes Association

Emmanuel Sanders - Emmanuel Sanders Foundation

Trevor Siemian - Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation

Darian Stewart - Stewart Standouts Foundation Inc.

Aqib Talib - Yellow Jackets United

Demaryius Thomas - Bountiful Hope Foundation

Demarcus Walker - Children's Hospital Colorado

Menelik Watson - Children's Heart Foundation

Coach Eric Studesville - Donor Alliance

Denver Broncos Player Foundations
C.J. Anderson - Dreams Never Die Foundation

Jamaal Charles - JC Youth Matters Family Foundation

Todd Davis - A+ Living

Chris Harris Jr. - Chris Harris Jr. Foundation

Brandon Marshall - Williams-Marshall Cares Leadership Program

Brandon McManus - Anti Bully Squad

Von Miller - Von's Vision

Ron Leary - Ron Leary Reach Foundation

Domata Peko - Domata Peko Foundation

Emmanuel Sanders - Emmanuel Sanders Foundation

Darian Stewart - Stewart Standouts Foundation