GREEN BAY – Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark is the team's 2018 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
The annual award is one of the most prestigious in the league, as it recognizes one NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.
From the league's 32 Man of the Year nominees, one winner will be announced during the NFL Honors ceremony on Super Bowl weekend.
Clark, a third-year pro and former first-round draft pick, is having a career-best season so far. He has recorded personal bests of six sacks and 55 tackles through 12 games and is a candidate for his first Pro Bowl selection. Clark now has 10 ½ sacks in his career, all coming in his last 17 games.
Earlier this year, Clark received the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Community Service Award at the team's annual Welcome Back Luncheon.
In that context, he was recognized for his efforts volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay, visiting with the Make-A-Wish children who stop by the Packers' facility, traveling on the 13th annual Tailgate Tour this past spring, and participating in the Salvation Army's Big Kettle campaign (with funds raised matched by Rodgers) and the Packers Give Back Celebrity Bowling Event to raise money for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
Back in his home state of California, Clark also has established an annual youth football camp and visited local children's hospitals as a representative of his alma mater, UCLA.
This past weekend, as part of the league's "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative, Clark wore specialty cleats he designed in support of Prison Fellowship and the program Angel Tree. Prison Fellowship is a nonprofit that serves prisoners, former prisoners and their families with needs that arise during and/or after an incarceration.
Clark's father has been in prison since 2005 for second-degree murder and is serving a sentence of 55 years to life without the possibility of parole. Clark was 9 years old when his father was sent to prison. Kenny Clark Sr. has always maintained his innocence, and his family has fought unsuccessfully to overturn his conviction through a series of legal filings and appeals.
Clark is the fourth consecutive defensive player to be the Packers' annual nominee, following Clay Matthews in 2017, Jayrone Elliott in 2016 and Sam Barrington in 2015. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the team's nominee, and eventually a league finalist, in 2014.
Whoever is chosen Walter Payton Man of the Year will have $500,000 donated in his name – half to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program, and half to the charity of his choice. The other 31 nominees will have $100,000 donated in their names in the same fashion.
The 32 nominees league-wide will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal for the rest of the season in recognition of their accomplishments on and off the field. They're also participating in a Charity Challenge, a social media contest through which fans can show their support for their favorite nominee by including the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge plus the player's last name. The three nominees with the most hashtag mentions will receive an additional contribution to the charity of their choice.