Fitzgerald, Eli both named Walter Payton Man of Year

  • By Around The NFL staff
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Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were named co-winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award Saturday night at 'NFL Honors.'

Greg Olsen was the third finalist for the honor. In 2006, Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson were also named co-winners for the prestigious award.

Fitzgerald has participated in several philanthropic initiatives, including teaming up with the American Cancer Society as a spokesman for the Crucial Catch Campaign during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Cardinals star also paired with Lenovo to donate tablet computer labs to schools in Minneapolis and Phoenix, as well as joining forces with Riddell to bring the most advanced helmets to 1,000 kids playing youth football in Minneapolis.

"Across the NFL, great men, like Eli Manning and Greg Olsen are serving their communities and making a difference," Fitzgerald said Saturday night. "Previous winners like my former teammate Anquan Boldin and newly minted Hall of Fame Kurt Warner exemplify what it means to give back. And I consider it a tremendous honor to be mentioned in the same breath as these men."

Manning has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past seven years, and his efforts have helped raise over $25 million over that span.

The Giants signal caller also helps out with other initiatives, including the American Red Cross and his fulfillment of numerous Make-A-Wish and Wounded Warrior experiences.

"If we in the NFL and others in our communities commit to step in, we can lessen that struggle, ease that hurt, spark that hope," Manning said regarding the importance of helping others. "I challenge everyone here to help some person in need -- you choose -- but go out of your way to make a difference in someone's life. I promise you it's worth it."

It's great to see two iconic players during their era also extend their greatness to outside of the gridiron.