ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Outside linebacker Von Miller has been selected as the Denver Broncos' 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee, it was announced Thursday. The prestigious award, presented by Nationwide, recognizes a player for his outstanding leadership both on the field and in the community.
The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year national winner will be announced in Atlanta at NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally on Saturday, Feb. 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII.
"Von's grown into an incredibly impactful leader in the community during his eight years with the Broncos, and we congratulate him on earning our Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nomination," Executive Vice President of Public & Community Relations Patrick Smyth said. "Whether it's personal causes or team initiatives, we're proud to have so many players doing such meaningful work in the community."
A six-time Pro Bowler and Associated Press All-Pro, as well as a two-time team captain, Miller has developed into a leader on and off the field during his eight seasons with the Broncos.
Selected by the Broncos second overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, Miller founded Von's Vision in 2012 with the goal of providing low-income children with vision care and eye exams while serving as an eye-glasses-wearing role model. Since its inception, Miller has raised more than $4.5 million for Von's Vision.
Throughout his time as a Bronco, Von Miller has been involved in many events supporting the Denver community, including through his own personal foundation, Von's Vision.
Through Von's Vision, children from 25 schools and organizations in the Denver metro area have received free eye screenings and eye exams valued at more than $250,000. Based on testing results, more than $500,000 worth of frames and lenses have been donated at no cost to program participants.
With more than 6,300 students already impacted through his signature Von's Vision Day program, Miller continues to expand his efforts in the community by finding innovative and impactful ways to grow Von's Vision. At the inaugural 'Western Round-Up' in November, Miller raised more than $400,000 and introduced a new community outreach program, Von's Vision Center.
The newly created Von's Vision Center brings eye care services directly to students and communities in need. The mobile kiosk is equipped with a selection of fashionable frames, portable refraction and visual acuity testing equipment, necessary supplies and material, and more.
The Von's Vision Center program was introduced in November through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, with the first Center opening at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club (approx. 87 percent of members qualify for free/reduced lunch in their schools). Von's Vision will also work with area optometric doctors and partners to sign up volunteer services at the selected Center's site.
In addition to the tremendously impactful work through Von's Vision, the Super Bowl 50 MVP has volunteered at dozens of team and teammate-hosted events and initiatives. Miller recently led his teammates in a more than $200,000 commitment toward a unique program designed to improve local law enforcement relations.
Partner organizations that Miller has supported across the Denver metro area over the years include Anchor Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Denver Public Schools, Denver Rescue Mission, Food Bank of the Rockies, Global Down Syndrome Foundation and Vitalant.
While the large-scale events and opportunities have been widely recognized, some of Von's most impactful experiences have come on an individual basis through numerous Make-A-Wish Foundation experiences. Miller is the most-requested Bronco for Wish experiences, personally fulfilling three to five wishes per year.
Last season, Miller was presented with the Broncos' Community Impact Award – which recognizes a player who has gone above and beyond in the community through personal philanthropic efforts. In 2017 alone, Miller led Von's Vision to a record $1.1 million fundraising record, allowing the organization to grow its impact and launch additional programs.
Miller has twice been named the NFL Players Association Community MVP (Week 17, 2017; Week 13, 2018) and was chosen as one of five finalists for the Byron "Whizzer" White Community MVP Award in 2017. The Broncos selected Miller in 2017 as their Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Nominee.
Voted on by his teammates, Miller was named a team captain for the second consecutive season in 2018.
WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR
The NFL's national Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will receive a charitable contribution of $500,000 — $250,000 will be donated to the winner's charity of choice and $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook across the country.
All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee's last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 winner will be announced during NFL Honors at Fox Theatre in Atlanta, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Starting in Week 14, all 2018 nominees will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season, in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field. All current players who have won the national award will wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys in perpetuity.
Previous Broncos nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award include cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (2017), tight end Virgil Green (2016), safety David Bruton Jr. (2015), guard Ben Garland (2014), linebacker Wesley Woodyard (2010-11, '13), guard Zane Beadles (2012), cornerback Champ Bailey (2008-09), cornerback Domonique Foxworth (2007), wide receiver Rod Smith (2004, '06), safety John Lynch (2005), linebacker Ian Gold (2003) and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (2002).
Quarterback John Elway (1992) is the only Broncos player to win the national award, which was first given in 1970 and renamed after the Chicago Bears' Pro Football Hall of Fame running back in 1999.