ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos presented their annual "Champions in the Community" awards during a team meeting on Friday and recognized guard Dalton Risner as their nominee for the 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.
The Broncos' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award along with eight other player service awards were presented by Owner Carrie Walton Penner, who addressed the team to thank players for their dedication to the community.
Tackle Garett Bolles was presented with the Broncos' Community Impact Award while fullback/tight end Andrew Beck, wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, kicker Brandon McManus, safety Justin Simmons and quarterback Russell Wilson received the team's Community Ambassador Awards. Wide receiver Montrell Washington was recognized as the Community Rookie of the Year. Additionally, defensive lineman Michael Purcell was acknowledged in-person for his selection as the team's nominee for the 2022 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.
Since Jan. 1, 2022, 110 players have volunteered with 138 nonprofit organizations and schools, totaling more than 1,100 hours of service. Broncos players have contributed nearly $1 million in financial and in-kind support throughout the course of the 2022 season.
BRONCOS COMMUNITY AWARD WINNERS
- Bolles launched his personal foundation, the GB3 Foundation, with the mission to empower children and youth with learning disabilities to find success through mentors in educational strategies, spiritual and mental wellbeing, whole body nutrition and physical health for the purpose of equipping them to live their dream. He participates in a juvenile probation court mentorship program where each month, he is paired with kids in the incentives and sanctions court. He records personalized, motivational videos for them and attends virtual court sessions in support. He additionally worked with the court to create an incentives program to motivate children to stay on the right track and even redecorated the court room to make it more inviting.
- Beck was recognized as the national Salute to Service Award winner in February 2022 and continued his commitment to the military community with various outreach initiatives throughout the year. He deepened his support for Freedom Service Dogs with regular volunteer opportunities at their facility, and attended various fundraising events throughout the year. The fourth-year veteran teamed up with the USO for a special dinner to welcome home a National Guard unit in Colorado Springs and travelled to Alaska to participate in the NFL x USO Tour and visit local bases.
- Cleveland was active in the community nearly every week of the regular season, totaling more than 20 community service opportunities and nearly 30 volunteer hours supporting team and teammate initiatives. He elevated his work in the social justice space by supporting the team's Gun Buyback Series, voted on by the players in 2021, and sharing how he personally was impacted by gun violence. Additionally, Cleveland supported all team PLAY 60 programs, including the team's All-Abilities Clinic, PLAY 60 Express Clinic, Miles for Miles Walk Week and youth and high school football initiatives.
- McManus was participated in the team's We Stand For program, raising awareness for equal economic opportunity and teaming up with the Denver Broncos and NFL Foundation to donate $40,000 to further his Project McManus foundation's community work. He was active in the team's Broncos Country Votes campaign and on Election Day, visited a local voter service and polling center to thank election judges and voters. The kicker also assisted in stocking the Backpack Society's school pantry program with a monetary donation and in-person volunteering to help tackle food insecurity and ensure kids don't struggle in school due to hunger.
- Simmons, who is a three-time nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, led all player advocacy efforts for HB 22-1131, a bill that would raise the age in Colorado for when kids can be arrested and detained from 10 years old to 13 years old. In addition to submitting testimony for the House Committee, he penned an op-ed in the Denver Post and wrote letters to legislators. The All-Pro safety led all eight sessions of the team's RISE youth leadership program with the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club and supported club teens as they planned the second annual March For Peace.
- Wilson participated in more than 25 community service opportunities this season, including making regular visits to local hospitals to visit with individuals and families going through challenging times. He committed an annual $500,000 donation to a Health Equity and Advancement Fund to focus on investments in health equity, education, food security, social justice, and children. The quarterback supported team initiatives including a PLAY 60 clinic with NFL UK during the Broncos' trip to London, and various holiday giving opportunities and events.
- Washington who joined the team as a fifth-round draft pick in 2022, took on a leadership role in developing the rookies-only community event: a holiday Milk & Cookies with the Rookies event at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club. He led the rookie class in volunteerism and has appeared in events that highlight all five of the team's focus areas: youth development, health and wellness, civic engagement, quality of life, and youth and high school football.