Chiefs guard Brian Waters took home the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award last year and now RB Thomas Jones will try to keep it in Kansas City. The team announced today that Jones is the Chiefs nominee for the prestigious award, which will be handed out during the Super Bowl pregame ceremonies.
“I am truly touched,” Jones said upon being informed of the news. “While I play the game of football for a living, it doesn’t define who I am as a person. It is the work I do in the community that’s a real passion of mine. I’m not one to seek the spotlight or do things in order to receive recognition. That’s what makes this news so humbling to me.”
In the short time Jones has called Kansas City home, he’s quickly adopted his new community as well. Whether he is visiting soldiers at Whiteman AFB, kicking off the NFL Hometown Huddle at the Boys & Girls Clubs, spending Thanksgiving flipping the switch on the Country Club Plaza Lights, purchasing holiday turkeys for local families in need, or recognizing the metro’s top high school football performers, Jones is always happy to lend his time and encourages his teammates to do the same.
The prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year award is unique among NFL honors. It is the only NFL acknowledgment that recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field. The Award has been given annually since 1970. In all, five Chiefs players have garnered this accolade, more than any other NFL franchise. Members of the Red and Gold who have taken home the Gladiator Statue, which is given to the winner, include such franchise stalwarts as LB Willie Lanier (1972), QB Len Dawson (1973), LB Derrick Thomas (1993), G Will Shields (2003) and the reigning NFL Man of the Year, G Brian Waters (2009).
We hear the cliche all the time about “it’s just an honor to be nominated”, but in this case it’s true. It’s impressive to be any team’s nominee, but especially with the Chiefs considering their long history of working in and around the Kansas City community.
It’s a well deserved honor and here’s to hoping he can accept the award in uniform!