On Day 7 of "10 Days of Giving," the Cleveland Browns announced DE Myles Garrett has been named the team's 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide, recognizing the NFL's best players for their performance on the field and their dedication to the community.
"It is an honor to be named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for my team," said Garrett. "It is of incredible significance just to be honored and have that kind of recognition because Sweetness was a hell of a man and a hell of a football player. He has been recognized and gone down in history for his off of the field passions and what he did for people in his community and all across the world. I would like to keep that going. He is one of my favorite running backs, as well as players. To be in the same sentence as him and the same breath is an honor in itself."
"We are incredibly proud of Myles and his strong passion for our team and community, which makes him truly deserving of our Walter Payton Man of the Year award," said Dee and Jimmy Haslam. "Myles is a phenomenal player and person who is consistently working to improve on the field with a team-first mindset while also identifying ways to improve the lives of other people, including through his dedication to Waterboys and important social justice efforts."
"We stress the importance of having smart, tough, accountable players who prioritize the team and others above individual accomplishments. Myles exemplifies those characteristics both on and off the field," said Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry. "His performance on Sundays has been exceptional this season, but the socioeconomic work he has done in our community and abroad will have a more lasting impact. We are proud to have Myles represent our organization, including as our Walter Payton Man of the Year."
Executive Vice President, Partner J.W. Johnson, will formally present the award to Garrett prior to the Browns' Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on Dec. 14.
The No. 1 overall selection by the Browns in the 2017 NFL Draft, Garrett has played in 47 career games with 45 starts, amassing 134 tackles (99 solo), 41.0 sacks (274.0 yards), four passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He reached his first Pro Bowl following the 2018 season, when he earned second-team All-Pro honors. Garrett was also named to the PFWA All-Rookie team in 2017.
Garrett is one of only five NFL players to record at least 41.0 sacks since he entered the league in 2017. His 10 career forced fumbles rank tied for the most by a Brown since 2000.
Despite missing two games this season, Garrett is currently tied for third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks, becoming the first Browns player to post at least 10 sacks in three consecutive seasons since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. The Texas A&M product posted at least one sack in a franchise-record six consecutive games during Weeks 2-7, including multiple sacks in three of those contests. The Browns are 7-1 this year in games where Garrett has registered at least a half-sack, and each of his four forced fumbles (tied for second NFL) occurred on strip-sacks that led to Browns scores in victories.
Garrett has consistently proven to be a leader for his Browns teammates on and off the field, including in his role as a member of the team's social justice committee. He has also made a concerted effort this year to be more of a vocal leader and continues to serve as a reliable example to all Browns players, as well as the community in general.
In 2019, Garrett was named the active player captain for Waterboys, which focuses on bringing clean water to communities in East Africa. As captain, he directs a team of active NFL players who are committed to using their platform to engage fans and help address the clean water crisis. Early in 2020, Garrett made a two-week trip to Tanzania to help install wells and experience the impact first hand. Since its launch, Waterboys has funded 83 wells, serving more than 350,000 people. Approximately 844 million people – more than twice the population of the United States – do not have basic water access across the world.
This past offseason, Garrett personally reached out to victims of police brutality and their families while also raising awareness for additional significant social justice issues, including the digital divide. He covered funeral costs for David McAtee of Louisville, Ky., this summer, and paid tribute to John Saunders on his helmet decal during games.
Additionally, Garrett teamed up with Cleveland Hope Exchange and local businesses to provide more than 24,000 pounds of food and additional resources to those in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic this past spring.
Throughout his career, Garrett has been engaged in Browns Give Back's dedication to education, youth football and volunteering efforts through the First and Ten movement. Last year, he led a Browns First and Ten Tuesday visit at Akron Ellet High School, breaking ground on the ninth multi-sport playing field installed as part of the Browns' and Haslams' support of education and youth football. Garrett is also highly supportive of his teammates' community initiatives off of the field by participating in and contributing to their events, including several hosted by fellow Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi.
For the third year in a row, all 32 of the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LV. The 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special airing on CBS the week of Super Bowl LV.
All 32 nominees will receive a $40,000 donation in their name to the charity of their choice, while the winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his selection. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
"Nationwide is proud to recognize an impressive class of Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees," said Nationwide's Chief Marketing Officer Ramon Jones. "We have long known that NFL players care about the communities where they live and play, but these 32 men have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to advocate for personal causes and inspire action to support them. Nationwide is honored to play a part in sharing their stories and supporting the tremendous work of these community champions."
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's sixth annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote for Garrett on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallengeGarrett. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most from Dec. 10-Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their identified charity, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, respectively, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear. New this year, fans can win NFL Shop gift cards and additional money for their favorite nominee's charity. Each Monday during the #WPMOYChallenge, Nationwide will ask fans to respond on Twitter with their favorite nominee, and one randomly selected fan each week will win a $100 NFL Shop gift card and $2,500 for their favorite nominee's charity.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.
The Man of the Year award has been given annually since 1970.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
Cleveland Browns Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominees since 1999:
1999 - OG Jim Pyne
2000 - LB Jamir Miller
2001 - LB Wali Rainer
2002 - RB Jamel White
2003 - QB Kelly Holcomb
2004 - DE Kenard Lang
2005 - QB Trent Dilfer
2006 - QB Charlie Frye
2007 - WR Braylon Edwards
2008 - K Phil Dawson
2009 - WR Mike Furrey*
2010 - OL Joe Thomas
2011 - WR Joshua Cribbs
2012 - OL Joe Thomas*
2013 - LB Jabaal Sheard
2014 - LB Craig Robertson
2015 - TE Gary Barnidge
2016 - OL Joe Thomas
2017 - TE Randall Telfer
2018 - LB Christian Kirksey
2019 - WR Jarvis Landry
2020 - DE Myles Garrett
*Denotes NFL finalist
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Browns Give Back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
Education – The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Ohio by making investments that keep kids in school every day so they can succeed, highlighted by the "Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day" Network. The "Stay in the Game!" Network is a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism. The team engages local school districts and promotes quality education by using attendance data and feedback from families to build a school-going culture, uncover and reduce common barriers to attendance and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive. In the 2020-21 school year, the "Stay in the Game!" Network will partner with 16 school districts, benefitting more than 110,000 students in Ohio. An adaptation of the "Get 2 School, Stay In The Game!" Network, the name change reflects the current environment where schools may not necessarily be able to host in-school learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter the circumstances, the "Stay in the Game!" Network will continue to encourage and support students to maintain a strong educational-going mindset to keep learning, every day, aligned with its overall goal to help end chronic absenteeism and provide all students equal opportunities to be successful. To learn more visit, Get2School.org.
Youth Football – The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
First and Ten – Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. To date, more than 2.75 million hours of volunteering have been pledged through First and Ten. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10.