Cam Newton named 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers watches on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Quarterback Cam Newton is Carolina’s 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee, the Carolina Panthers announced this month. 

The award recognizes community service as well as excellence on the field, and while injuries have hampered the former NFL MVP the past two seasons, Newton's commitment to community efforts has been tireless and far-reaching, the Panthers said. 

As of Friday morning, Dec. 27, Cam was in first place as the leading vote-getter for the award with around 222,500 votes. 

NFL MAN OF THE YEAR LEADERBOARD

Newton established his own foundation in 2012, identifying three pillars of focus: Every 1 Plays (youth activity, mentoring high school players), Every 1 Gives (donations and community outreach) and Every 1 Learns (diversity and societal education). Together, they make up the foundation’s guiding principle and Newton's personal belief of Every 1 Matters.

Since inception, the Panthers said that the foundation has provided $5.13 million in grant funding, year-round programming resources and donations to schools and non-profit agencies in Atlanta and Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17: Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) gives a ball to a little girl in the stands during the second half between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016, in

Over 12,500 student-athletes and coaches have participated in Newton's EVERY 1 PLAYS initiative and over 11,850 need-based youth have been provided meals and gifts through Newton’s signature annual programs: “Cam’s Thanksgiving Jam” and “Santa Cam’s Surprise Sleigh.”

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Newton’s off-the-field efforts are significant and purposeful, but perhaps his greatest legacy has been growing the sport of football at the grassroots level and using the game as a gateway to mentor youth, the Panthers said on Thursday. Newton’s passion and enthusiasm for high school football is exemplified by his annual 7-on-7 tournament which featured four events, 85 high school teams and over 2,000 student-athletes in 2019.

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