A Tribute to Jason Witten Named 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year

Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys was named the 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, it was announced today.  The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence. The announcement was made during the second annual NFL Honors show last night. Jarrett and Brittney Payton, the late Walter Payton’s children, will honor Witten on-field tomorrow before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII.

Despite being a prolific pass-catcher and Tony Romo’s go-to target, Witten has been an upstanding member of his community. The right-time Pro Bowler is just as genuine and hardworking on the field as he is in his passion to give back to the community where he resided and was raised.

Jason Witten 1“I am extremely flattered to be chosen the 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year from such an esteemed group of nominees,” said Witten. “I work hard every day not only to be a success on the football field and a credit to my team – but to be a good husband, father, son, grandson, teammate – to be the kind of man that is as respected as Walter Payton was. Like others before me, I have a great opportunity as an NFL player to make a difference in the lives of others. It is honestly humbling to be recognized in such a manner for simply doing what I feel is right and human. I am fortunate to have a great support system in my family, the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL which allows me to make an impact in the communities and with people who love our game.”

Since joining the Cowboys in 2003, Witten has been actively involved with numerous non-profit organizations. In addition to these, Witten serves as the Cowboy’s Representative for NFL Play 60 and through his own charity, “Jason Witten’s SCORE Foundation.”

The JWSF SCOREkeepers program has placed full-time, trained, male mentors in six battered women’s shelters throughout Texas in an effort to break the vicious cycle of violence that plagues families affected by abuse. The newest domestic violence prevention program called “Coaching Boys Into Men” trains high school coaches to educate their players on the dangers of dating violence.

Witten joins a stellar list of men who have won the award previously, which includes 18 Pro Football Hall of Famers, with Cris Carter’s announced induction to the Hall of Fame yesterday. The selection panel is comprised of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Connie Payton, Pro Football Hall of Fame members Frank Gifford and Anthony Munoz, 2011 winner Matt Birk, and Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King.

Below is a list of Winners of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award since 2000.




Matt Birk, Center Baltimore Ravens


Madieu Williams,  Safety Minnesota Vikings


Brian Waters, Guard Kansas City Chiefs


Kurt Warner, Quarterback Arizona Cardinals


Jason Taylor, Defensive End Miami Dolphins


Drew Brees, QB (N.O.) and LaDainian Tomlinson, RB (S.D.)


Peyton Manning, Quarterback Indianapolis Colts


Warrick Dunn, Running Back Atlanta Falcons


Will Shields, Guard Kansas City Chiefs


Troy Vincent, Defensive Back Philadelphia Eagles


Jerome Bettis, Running Back Pittsburgh Steelers


Derrick Brooks (Tampa) and Jim Flanigan (Chicago)






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