The New England Patriots named Jonathan Jones their 2023 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award, first given out in 1970 and renamed after the Chicago Bears legendary running back in 1999 honors players for their work on and off the field. The 32 nominees, one from each franchise, were announced on Tuesday.
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award honors players that have made a significant positive impact in their community. Accordingly the league, the honor represents, “the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact.”
Earlier this season, the Patriots honored Jonathan Jones with the Ron Burton Community Service Award. His quality community efforts in the community comes as no surprise to folks in Foxboro, or beyond.
Robert Kraft Praises Jones
New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft had this to say about Jonathan Jones (from the official team press release):
“I am happy to announce that Jonathan Jones is the Patriots selection for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Jonathan has been a tremendous ambassador for the Patriots since he joined the team as a rookie free agent in 2016. Every year, his role and contributions have grown, both on the field and in the community. He started the Jonathan Jones Next Step Foundation to positively impact the lives of youth in his New England and Georgia communities through education and mentorship. He became the first male ambassador for ‘iPlay Like a Girl’ through his advocacy for women and girls in sports, and he continues to empower young women to excel in STEM fields. I am proud to have him represent the New England Patriots as this year’s nominee.”
For the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative, Jonathan Jones has honored ‘iPlay Like a Girl’ for the past two seasons. As the father of a girl, it is a cause close to Jones’ heart.
Recent New England Patriots nominees have included Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, Kyle Van Noy, Devin McCourty, and Lawrence Guy.
The winner of the WPMOY will receive $250,000 for the charity of their choice. All other nominees will receive up to $55,000 to go toward their chosen charity. The NFL named three finalists from the original 32 nominees. The winner will be announced Feb. 8, 2024 during the NFL Honors program.
Jonathan Jones, along with the other nominees, will wear a decal on his helmet for the remainder of the season to commemorate the honor.