For the second consecutive season, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has been selected as the Redskins’ candidate for the Walter Payton Man of the Year.
The award emphasizes excellence on and off the field, and highlights players that are especially active in their communities. Let’s review Alexander’s impressive résumé:
On the field:
For the third-consecutive year, ‘Zo led the team in special teams tackles, collecting 21 this year despite the change in kickoff rules. His coaches marvel at his ability to perform, despite being a target for double- and triple-teams in coverage. In 2011, he was a dominant force on the league’s best coverage unit, statistically.
Through his hard-nosed play and personable approach to the media, he has become an easy fan-favorite. The feeling is clearly mutual (footage courtesy of Fox 5 News):
Off the field:
In addition to headlining efforts for the Redskins Charitable Foundation and for teammates’ charities, he does year-round work with his own personal A.C.E.S. (Accountability, Community, Education, Sports) Foundation. Since he and his wife started the organization in 2008, he has donated more than $62,000 and countless hours of his own time to the youth in Washington and his native Oakland, Calif.
He discussed his charity work (and more!) with WOWRedskins.com:
Alexander has participated in 52-team related community events since joining the Redskins organization, and is a familiar face in nearly all Community Relations and Charitable Foundation initiatives.
In his spare time, he organizes an annual bike ride called “Ride To Provide,” and has been an outspoken advocate for raising awareness of kidney disease:
This is far from an exhaustive list, but gives an idea of how much Alexander gives of himself to the team and the fans. Congratulations to Alexander for being selected as the Redskins’ nominee, and behalf of Redskins Nation, thank you for all that you do.
From here, his nomination will be judged against others in the NFL. Three finalists for the league-wide award will receive an additional $5,000 and be invited to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, with the winner announced at the NFL Honors show the night before the Super Bowl. The overall winner will receive a $25,000 donation to the non-profit of their choice.
The prestigious award was renamed in 1999 for the legendary Chicago Bears Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Walter Payton. The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award has been given annually since 1970.
Past Redskins nominees of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year include:
Lorenzo Alexander, 2010
London Fletcher, 2009 (selected as an overall finalist), 2008
Rocky McIntosh, 2007
Renaldo Wynn, 2006
Shawn Springs, 2005
Chris Cooley, 2004
Darnerian McCants, 2003
Eddie Mason, 2002
Chris Samuels, 2001
Darrell Green, 1996 (won the national award)
Joe Theismann, 1982 (won the national award).