The Packers announced today that running back Aaron Jones has been named the team nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league's 32 nominees were announced today.
"We are so proud of Aaron and all the work he does off the field for the community here in Wisconsin and in his hometown of El Paso," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. "He exemplifies what it means to be devoted to both his team and his community. He is a great player, and an even better person. We are so fortunate to have him in Green Bay."
Jones has been a constant presence in the community dating back to his time in high school and college, and especially since coming to Green Bay in 2017. In his five years with the Packers, Jones has jumped at every opportunity to take part in community events.
Having grown up with two parents in the U.S. Army, causes affiliated with the military are particularly important to him. During his time in Green Bay, he's been a big part of the Packers' Salute to Service efforts, from sending videos to veterans to speaking to youth at military academies and taking part in events like the team's Huddle for Heroes aimed at honoring veterans. He's visited service members in the hospital and visited military bases, including Fort Bliss in his native El Paso. He was nominated for the NFL Salute to Service Award in 2018 for his dedication to saluting those who serve the country.
Jones also has been involved with numerous programs and charities that benefit kids. He has attended a variety of events at the Boys & Girls Club, both in Green Bay and in Milwaukee, and he hosts football camps during the offseason in El Paso and Wisconsin. Jones also has a special connection with kids battling illnesses, including cancer. He frequently visits children in the hospital or those who are facing health issues, whether in person or over video chat, and has highlighted them and their courage through the My Cause My Cleats campaign.
Check out photos from the summer clinic
He has taken his community involvement to the next level in the last year by launching the A&A All the Way Foundation with his twin brother, Alvin. The A&A All the Way Foundation is dedicated to making an impact in the lives of children through charitable giving and action, and it executes events that inspire, educate and promote unity and diversity across multiple communities. The Foundation helps address children's basic needs, providing opportunities for recreation and fitness, and supporting children in military families. Through the Foundation, Jones has done turkey giveaways for needy families in both El Paso and Green Bay, run football camps for kids and given bikes away to students. He has also extended his Yards for Shoes campaign, which donates a pair of shoes to children at Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Wisconsin for every rushing yard he gains this season up to 1,000 yards. The Foundation also includes the Freedom Is Campaign, which just launched in 2021 and focuses on honoring military families each month by raising funds to provide joy-filled experiences to children who have parents serving in the military, such as a trip to the zoo or a family movie night.
As a nominee, Jones will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVI, on ABC. All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice.
For the seventh year, each Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee will also take part in the Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.