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Devoted to the Community

Posted Nov 9, 2010

Wesley Woodyard was named the Broncos Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recipient this week. He will donate $5,000 each to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and the Tennyson Center.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Two years ago, Wesley Woodyard met 12-year-old Davante Croffer.

"He wasn't going to have anything for Christmas, and I couldn't imagine how I would feel if I didn't have a present to open up for Christmas," Woodyard said.

So the then-rookie linebacker did what he felt was right -- he provided Davante and his family with a Christmas.

"For me, I didn't hesitate," he said. "I didn't think twice about it -- I was like, of course I'll do it. It's been a big blessing for me to be in that situation to help."

That sort of selfless commitment to the community has earned Woodyard recognition as the Broncos Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recipient.

The award, which is presented at the Super Bowl by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, is given to the player who best personifies leadership on and off the field, and who has demonstrated significant impact through his community service.

As the Broncos' recipient of the award, Woodyard's name will be submitted to the league for national consideration for the award. He was selected from a pool that included Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, Ryan Harris and Daniel Graham.

"It's a big accomplishment to be voted and selected as that, but to me it wasn't about the award," Woodyard said. "Whatever I do in the community I love doing it because that's just who I am. I love giving back and just to see people love the things that you do to them -- that means a lot to me."

Bailey, the Broncos' recipient of the award for the past two seasons, said he has tried to lead by example when it comes to community work. He noticed from day one that Woodyard had a similar desire to help.

"You try to get guys involved as much as possible," Bailey said. "He's been one guy who every time I've asked him to come somewhere he's done it, so he's very deserving of it."

That mindset started for Woodyard in high school, when he was active in his community of LaGrange, Ga. It continued throughout college at Kentucky, when he worked with his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, on various community service projects.

So it comes as no surprise that his devotion to helping has continued as a professional.

With the $10,000 he received for being presented with the award, Woodyard donated $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs and $5,000 to the Tennyson Center, where he adopted Croffer and his family. Representatives from both organizations will be on the field on Sunday before the Broncos take on the Chiefs to receive the donations.

Woodyard said he chose those organizations because they're close to his heart. Among his many ventures, the linebacker has been an ardent supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, participating every year in Play 60 events designed to keep children physically active. He has helped lead the program's Hometown Huddle event every October, a two-loop fitness walk around INVESCO Field at Mile High. He has taken part in annual Shop with a Bronco events and taken up his own cause at the Tennyson Center.

When Bailey thinks of Woodyard, he sees a genuine devotion to the community.

"He shows it every week," the veteran cornerback said. "That's the type of person you want around."

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