NFL Man Of The Year Nominees | NFL.com

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Tahir Whitehead

LINEBACKER

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Tahir Whitehead represented the Raiders at a series of NFL events in London this July, including NFL Flag Football Academy Final Trials at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he mentored young football players and interacted with youth during the London-NFL UK Flag Football Championship. Tahir was one of the select group of Raiders players to attend the Raiders Headquarters' Las Vegas groundbreaking, where he engaged the Silver and Black's newest neighbors. Tahir interacted with youth during the Silicon Valley Flag Football Tournament earlier this year and assisted underserved Bay Area youth with school supplies during his 2nd annual Back-to-School book bag giveaway.

Tahir led a group of Raiders in a visit to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Visit in Oakland, where they interacted with the patients, their families, staff and caregivers in the play rooms, school rooms and made bedside visits where they passed out foam footballs, stickers, pins and sunglasses. He also represented the Raiders in presenting a $5,000 donation in support of the hospital's Child Life Services Department. He was one of the core participants in the Raiders Play 60 Flag Football activity with Oakland PAL. Early in his NFL career while a member of the Lions, Whitehead volunteered with the Downtown (Detroit) Boxing Gym Youth Program, which, in addition to boxing instruction, offers kids, ages 7 to 18 tutors, computer lab and music studio access.

Tahir oftentimes brought his family to the gym as he was not only engaged with youth in athletic activities, but also served as a mentor and positive influence. The youth's situations reminded him of his own upbringing, and beginning in his first NFL season, he was determined to share ways to avoid negative influences and give back to the community.

Tahir's random act of kindness earned him a fan for life following an encounter with a member of the military on the road. U.S. Army Sergeant David Marquez was headed home from his reserve training when he suffered a flat tire. Marquez watched car after car drive by, unwilling to offer their services. However, one car decided to see if he needed some help. As the SUV pulled up, a figure dressed in Silver and Black apparel from head-to-toe stepped out and helped Marquez, Raiders linebacker Tahir Whitehead. When asked why he stopped to help Marquez, he kept it simple by saying "just thought it was the right thing to do".

In an effort to support homeless vets, Tahir is hosting a 5K run/walk the week of Veterans Day around Oakland's Lake Merritt, with all proceeds will go towards the Back on My Feet Foundation. The event includes the famous Grooves Dance Workout class as seen on the popular TV show, The View, and led by celebrity choreographer Kennis Marquis.

He spent his most recent lone off day of the week with a select group of cancer survivors who reside in the Bay Area for a chocolate making class at the team's Alameda Facility in recognition of the NFL's Crucial Catch initiative, where they learned about the science, history and health benefits of chocolate. They then took part in designing their own chocolate bars, which they took home at the end of the evening.

For the past five years, Tahir has hosted a youth football camp in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey and has covered the fees for all the attendees. For the past two seasons, he has also sponsored a back to school book bag drive for local youth in his community. He is so revered and respected in hometown and his community that that he was given the key to Newark during a ceremony last year. Tahir, who had only one football scholarship offer, also had his jersey retired at his alma mater, West Side High School. During the ceremony, he stated, "I'll never forget the people that helped me."