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NFL Man of the Year Nominees 2019 | Broncos |


Justin Simmons




In his fourth year with the Denver Broncos, Justin Simmons continues to raise the bar for what it means to be a leader in the community. Since the team returned for the offseason program in April, Justin has dedicated more than 2,500 minutes of his time (as of Oct. 21) to volunteer with more than 16 different organizations. While statistics and figures are important, they will never fully capture the dedication and commitment to continued service that puts Justin in a league of his own. Justin has worked tirelessly to make a difference in all five of the Broncos' distinct focus areas: Youth Development, Hunger Relief, Health & Wellness, Youth Football and Civic Engagement.

Preparing youth to achieve their full potential is a cornerstone of Justin's service. Through both personal connections and conversations with children at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver as well as Denver Rescue Mission, and formal presentations at student-leadership summits and local graduation ceremonies, Justin is quick to equally share advice and lend a listening ear as children continue to develop physical, developmental and social competencies. Now in his second year as the Denver Broncos Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador, Justin focuses his messaging around youth physical activity and nutrition by encouraging students to be leaders in their own schools. Justin served as the lead judge during a Healthy Schools Competition where he reviewed presentations by elementary and middle school student teams who proposed ideas and programs for improving their schools. Justin distributed $10,000 in the form of school grants during the 2018 – 2019 school year and personally met with each student-led team to congratulate and encourage them on the difference they are making in their schools and communities.

When it comes to hunger relief, the Bank of the Rockies is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state, working to help families thrive by efficiently procuring and distributing food and essentials to the hungry. Justin is a regular volunteer at not only the Food Bank of the Rockies warehouse, where he packages food orders for partner agencies, but events that also support fundraising to provide meals to those in need, including the team's annual Taste of the Broncos event. Justin also annually supports the team's "Fight Like A Bronco" campaign, an all-inclusive initiative recognizing all those affected by cancer, by leading hospital visits throughout the season to support those currently battling cancer. For the second consecutive year, Justin hosted an arts and crafts station for pediatric oncology patients and their families receiving treatment at Children's Hospital Colorado. Additionally, Justin led room-to-room visits with patients battling various types of cancer at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital — partnering with UCHealth to provide a patient battling cancer pregame field passes and tickets to a Broncos home game.

In the realm of Youth Football, character, healthy masculinity and access to fair play for athletes with all abilities is woven through Justin's interactions with those in the youth and high school football space. Relationships with Special Olympics Colorado, Denver Public Schools and Aurora Public Schools allows Justin to attend local youth and high school football games and practices, speaking with players of all ages about his journey to the NFL and the importance of resiliency, determination and hard work. In civic engagement, Justin has taken a quiet leadership role in the team's social justice outreach in 2019. He has attended every single event focused on support for the first responder community this year, after making a personal donation to SHIELD616 at the conclusion of the 2018 Season, to provide tactical gear and protection for peace officers and first responders who sacrificially serve our communities. In May alone, Justin volunteered at four events that personally reached more than 100 first responders in our local community. To kick off the month, Justin volunteered alongside officers from various jurisdictions to run inclusive PLAY 60 stations for Special Olympics Athletes. The following day, Justin and his teammates visited a local fire station whose crew members had recently responded to a local school shooting. During National Police Week, he joined 25 kids from the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club and 20 local police officers to work together to assemble 13,000 meals that were distributed to fight hunger in our community. Rounding out the month, Justin was part of a group of Broncos players to visit the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and go through various educational training stations to learn more about the different way the officers serve our local community. The Denver Broncos are proud to name Justin as their 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

Since being drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round in 2016, Justin has consistently demonstrated a commitment to giving back and using his platform as an NFL player to impact the lives around him. No player has committed more time and resources to giving back to the Denver metro area than Justin in the last four years. No event or opportunity is too big or too small for Justin, who cherishes the individual moments he has interacting with fans young and old.

He is reliably the first player to volunteer for opportunities, whether on an individual basis, a team-centered event or a teammate's personal outreach initiative. Justin's impact spans far beyond the number of events he has been a part of during his time as a Denver Bronco and resonates on a deeper level with the countless non-profit organizations and schools that he meets on a weekly basis. Throughout four seasons, Justin has worked directly with dozens community organizations including, but not limited to: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver Rescue Mission, Food Bank of the Rockies, Global Down Syndrome Association, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish Colorado, Mile High United Way, National Sports Center for the Disabled, Playworks Colorado, Special Olympics Colorado, UCHealth and USA Football. In addition to direct non-profit outreach and partnerships, Justin has worked with nearly 50 different schools (elementary through high school) focusing on bullying prevention, health and wellness, and empowering student-athletes. Most notably, Justin has reached more than 3,000 kids through various PLAY 60 events with the Denver Broncos and in his role as a Fuel Up to Play 60 ambassador since joining the league, sharing with them the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle. Whether it's recognizing Fuel Up to Play 60 Touchdown schools or running a PLAY 60 activity station at an All-Ability Clinic with Special Olympics, Justin never misses an opportunity to fulfill his passion for health and wellness alongside kids in his community. Justin has been named a Denver Broncos Community Ambassador Award Winner in each of the past two seasons (2017-18) and is continuously looked upon as a leader both on and off the field by his teammates and coaches.

Justin's leadership style is to lead by example. In just four seasons with the team, he has elevated himself and is seen as a leader on and off the field. Following his rookie season, Justin has been named a game-day captain during each season 2017 (at OAK), 2018 (at K.C.) and 2019 (at LAC). Off the field, Justin is a two-time Denver Broncos Community Ambassador (2017-2018), an award presented to the players with exemplary commitment to giving back to the community. The Denver Broncos presented the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award to Simmons following the 2017 season. The award, named in honor of the late cornerback who was tragically killed in a shooting, is annually presented to the Bronco who best exemplifies Williams' enthusiasm, cooperation and honesty while dealing with members of the press. The award is voted upon and selected by the team's local media. To date, Simmons is the youngest player to ever win the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award. He was commended by ESPN's Jeff Legwold as consistently showing accountability to all facets of his job and was repeatedly praised for the quality of his answers to often tough questions and his willingness to step forward after both good and bad days for the team. Justin models a lifestyle of giving back, not only to his teammates, but to his family. He invites his wife and daughter to join him at each and every outreach event and utilizes the valuable, and limited, family time that he has during season to share it giving back to others in our community. His daughter is often seen at community events sporting her "Future Champion in the Community" t-shirt, as Justin works to instill the importance of giving back in her at a young age.