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).
2018 Denver Broncos Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year: OLB Von Miller
Von Miller is a force to be reckoned with on the football field. Miller is an eighth-year linebacker and six-time Associated Press All-Pro selection. He has been recognized for his accomplishments by being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2011), and runner-up for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in both 2012 and 2016. He was named the MVP of Super Bowl 50 - only the 10th defensive player to earn the honor - after posting 2.5 sacks and forcing two fumbles that led to touchdowns in Denver's 24-10 win against Carolina. The performance solidified his recognition as the 2016 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Male Athlete of the Year.
Miller founded Von's Vision with the goal to help just one or two kids. Five years later, he is amazed at the work that he has been able to accomplish and exudes excitement at each Von's Vision Day event when he is surrounded by hundreds of kids wearing glasses - just like him. Since the inception of Von's Vision, students from 25 schools and organizations have received free eye screenings and eye exams valued at $254,149. Based on testing results, more than $500,000 worth of frames and lenses have been donated at no cost to program participants. Trained volunteers and eye care specialists have donated 2,500 volunteer hours to support Von's Vision initiatives - a value of nearly $65,000 based on the Nonprofit Times estimate for the State of Colorado. "It means a lot to me to help my community in my way," Miller said. In order to fund each effort and initiative, Miller actively fundraises in both Colorado and Texas. In 2018, Miller eclipsed 6,300 students who have been impacted through his signature Von's Vision Day program and continues to expand his efforts in the community by finding innovative and impactful ways to grow Von's Vision.
Miller is the ultimate team player, constantly putting others before himself in terms of praise and comradery. As a leader, he speaks up when he needs to, but also leads by silent example where necessary. Miller consistently supports his teammates' community initiatives by attending events and fundraisers. Miller represented the Broncos as the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Nominee. Additionally, in 2017, Miller was presented with the Broncos' Community Impact Award - designed to recognize a player who has gone above and beyond in the community through his personal foundation. In 2017, Miller led Von's Vision to a record $1.1 million fundraising record, allowing the organization to grow its impact and launch additional programs. At the end of the 2017 season, Miller was named the Week 17 NFLPA Community MVP. He was named one of five finalists for the Byron "Whizzer" White Community MVP Award, which is the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow upon a player. Voted on by his teammates, in 2018 Miller was named a Team Captain for the second time in his career.
The Denver Broncos are proud to name Von Miller the 2018 Denver Broncos Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
|2017: Chris Harris Jr.||2011: Wesley Woodyard||2005: John Lynch|
|2016: Virgil Green||2010: Wesley Woodyard||2004: Rod Smith|
|2015: David Bruton Jr.||2009: Champ Bailey||2003: Ian Gold|
|2014: Ben Garland||2008: Champ Bailey||2002: Ed McCaffrey|
|2013: Wesley Woodyard||2007: Domonique Foxworth||2001: Eric Brown|
|2012: Zane Beadles||2006: Rod Smith|