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Bears’ Graham named Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee

The veteran tight end receives the Bears’ honor for the second year in a row.

Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Bears’ Jimmy Graham has been named their nominee for the 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. It is the second straight year that sees the Bears honor the tight end for his communal impact in the Chicagoland area.

Graham, 35, is very active with his direct action, philanthropic efforts. In 2021, among other things, he made a six-figure donation to Ignite, which works with unhoused youth, and also provided all in the program with Thanksgiving meals. In addition to the Man of the Year nominations, Graham was Chicago’s Salute to Service nominee in 2020 and 2021.

Former Bears to have won the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (which was established in 1970 as then the ‘Man of the Year’) include Charles Tillman (2013), Jim Flanigan (2000), Mike Singletary (1990), Dave Duerson (1987), and Payton himself (1977).

Giving back where he can is a clear major priority in Graham’s life off the field.

“To the veterans and youth who I’ve been beyond fortunate to connect with, thank you for letting me play a small part in your lives,” said Graham. “I appreciate the Bears nominating me again and will continue to prioritize making a positive impact in the community.”

  • You can donate to Ignite, and all of their efforts with unhoused youth here.
  • You can donate to The Jimmy Graham Foundation, which directly serves veterans, here.