The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is one of the most prestigious awards bestowed upon players in the NFL. This award is presented to players who exhibit an outstanding dedication to philanthropy off the field, as well as being exemplary representatives of their team and the league on the field.
Each team in the NFL honors a single player each season, and that player is then in contention for the league-wide award.
This year's Walter Payton Man of the Year honoree from the Atlanta Falcons is kicker Matt Bryant. Bryant's commitment to serving others has been a constant throughout his time in the league. He was previously honored as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Man of the Year in 2007.
Bryant was also named the Falcons' Community All-Star in November for his dedication to the NFL's Play 60 campaign, as well as efforts to honor and thank U.S. military personnel.
This marks the second consecutive season that a special teams specialist has won the Falcons' Man of the Year honors. Last season's winner was punter Matt Bosher. Defensive tackle Corey Peters was honored by the team in 2011.
The only time a Falcons player has been awarded the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award was in 2004, when Warrick Dunn was honored for his tireless work to benefit others off the field. Perhaps this year will be Matt Bryant's year. If not, being singled out for exemplary service on a Falcons team that is so committed to benefiting their community is truly an accomplishment.