TAMPA — Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is the team's nominee for this year's NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which goes to one player whose contributions extend on and off the field.
As one of the 32 nominees for the award — one from each NFL club — McCoy will receive a $50,000 donation in his name to Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program, and another $50,000 to go to a charity of his choice.
The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which will be announced on Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, will receive a donation for $250,000 to Character Playbook and a charity of the winner's choice.
This is the first time that McCoy, a nine-year vet and six-time Pro Bowl selection, has been nominated, but he has long been involved in community service.
Later this month, he will spearhead the Bucs' annual "D-Line Delivers Christmas" event where the team's defensive linemen provide presents for local underprivileged families. McCoy has hosted youth football camps in Tampa and his hometown of Oklahoma City.
And this year, McCoy introduced Gerald McCoy's Patricia Diane Foundation, which focuses on supporting single-parent households in honor of his late mother. McCoy also helped to create the Bucs' Social Justice Initiative this year.
"I want to know that somebody's life was changed because I was drafted to the Bucs," McCoy said in a release. "Not just because they were able to watch me play football, but because something positive happened in their life because I was in that locker room, because I was in the cafeteria or in the community. That, for me, is more important than any sack or ring I can get."
Throughout the remainder of the season, McCoy will wear a special Man of the Year player decal on his helmet to recognize his nomination.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard