Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga was selected as the Packers' 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
As the Packers' winner of the award, Poppinga will direct a $1,000 donation to the Invisible Children, an organization that supports school children in war-torn areas of Uganda. He also is nominated for the league-wide award to be selected from 32 NFL players. The overall NFL winner will be chosen by a blue ribbon panel in December and recognized at a press conference during Super Bowl week in Arizona. The winner will receive a $25,000 donation to the 501(c)3 organization of his choice.
Ultra-intense and enthusiastic, the third-year strong-side linebacker has developed into a reliable all-around player, capable of laying the big hit on a ballcarrier, receiver or quarterback. Despite a very serious injury that sidelined him for nine months, Poppinga has played in 41 of a possible 45 games in his career, starting all nine so far this season. He has amassed 138 total tackles (88 solo), three sacks, two interceptions, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and 28 special teams tackles in his career.
Off the field, Poppinga is extremely involved with his church. He postponed his college football career for two seasons while serving as a missionary in Uruguay, South America. He currently acts as a youth leader, giving hour-long motivational and moral lessons weekly as well as supporting other youth activities. He has given a fireside on faith, family and football, an event that was open to the entire community.
Poppinga has supported the Boy Scouts of America by way of a public service announcement, for which he recorded both an English and Spanish version. In the same way, he has lent his support to the Green Bay Packers/American Family Insurance Military Cap Campaign by shooting various promos. Poppinga also recorded an intro for one of the units included in the Green Bay Packers Fit Kids program. He was a participant in the All Pro Dad event, encouraging fathers to become more involved in their children's lives.
Poppinga has hosted a football camp, "The Poppinga Football Experience," in Utah, as well as a charity fundraiser football camp in Wyoming for a Children's Hospital. He has served as an instructor in several other football camps. In addition, he has supported his coach's and fellow teammates' fundraising efforts through participation in Mark Tauscher's Trifecta Foundation Annual Golf Outing, the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation Annual Celebrity Softball Game, the Donald Driver Foundation Dinner and the Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin Green and Gold Gala, an annual event hosted by Coach Mike McCarthy
Poppinga has made various monetary donations to the community and beyond. He donated hundreds of dollars worth of new toys to a local nursery, as well as autographed items to an event that benefited the memorial of a fallen Green Bay Fire Fighter. He donated items to the Los Angeles Fire Department, where his brother-in-law is a fire fighter, as a contribution to a fundraiser that benefited victims of 9/11. Through the Fistula Foundation, he paid for surgeries of two women in Ethiopia, and through the Invisible Children Foundation, he purchased school supplies for students in Uganda. He also supported Amnesty International to assist in the case of someone who was unfairly imprisoned.
The Man of the Year honor is the only league award that recognizes player off-the-field community service as well as playing excellence. This year's finalists - one player from each NFL team - have demonstrated an outstanding balance between civic and professional responsibilities in their lives this season.
The prestigious award was renamed in 1999 for the legendary Chicago Bears Pro Football Hall of Fame running back. The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award has been given annually since 1970.
Past Packers winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year include: Bubba Franks, 2006; Tony Fisher, 2005; Marco Rivera, 2004; Aaron Kampman, 2003; Donald Driver, 2002; Santana Dotson, 2001; Brett Favre, 2000; LeRoy Butler, 1999; Robert Brooks, 1998; Brett Favre, 1997; Mark Chmura, 1996; Ty Detmer, 1995.