Greg Olsen named as Panthers Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Nominee

Greg Olsen has been named the Carolina Panthers Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Nominee.

Olsen is one of 32 players, one from each NFL team, eligible to be chosen for the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field.

This is the second time Olsen has been nominated for the award.

On the field, Greg Olsen is one of the NFL’s best tight ends. A four-time team captain and two-time Pro Bowler, he is just the seventh tight end in NFL history with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (2014, 2015). Olsen, who has played in 154 consecutive regular season games, ranks in the top 10 all-time among NFL tight ends in receptions (603) and receiving yards (7,112) and is approaching the top 10 in receiving touchdowns (52). This season, Olsen leads all NFL tight ends with 820 receiving yards, according to the Panthers.

The Panthers said in 2009, after watching his mother survive breast cancer, Olsen founded Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation. Greg’s mission through the foundation is to ensure that everyone has a “second chance at life,” just like his mother.  

The foundation’s Receiving Hope program focuses on cancer research, support and education programming. 

In early 2013, Greg and his wife Kara created the HEARTest Yard Fund after a routine examination of their unborn son, T.J., revealed the infant had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital defect marked by an underdeveloped left ventricle and aorta. The HEARTest Yard Fund, an umbrella program under The Receptions for Research Foundation, is a family service program administered in conjunction with Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, according to the Panthers.

“Greg has an incredible heart.  I love the guy,” said Olsen’s teammate and 2014 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year recipient Thomas Davis. “After everything he faced with his son’s surgeries, he never turned his back on his team, and never walked away from serving the community. He is an outstanding friend, father and teammate, and someone I truly admire.”

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award, which was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton, is considered the league’s most prestigious honor. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community to be considered for the national award. 

Three of the 32 nominees will be selected as finalists, and the winner will be announced in Houston at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 4, the night before Super Bowl LI, from 8-10 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX.

To support Greg Olsen in the Charity Challenge, use #OlsenWPMOYChallenge.