NFL Man Of The Year Nominees |

2021 Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham (80) receives the Man of The Year honor from Devices 4 The Disabled, Tuesday, October 5, 2021, in Wheeling, Illinois.

Jimmy Graham


Table inside Article
PositionCollegeYears in the NFL
Tight EndUniversity of Miami12

Demonstrates Excellence on the Field

Jimmy Graham is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He ranks No. 1 among NFL tight ends since 2010 in receiving yards, is second in receptions and receiving touchdowns, and has 16 career multi-touchdown games, which is tied for third all-time. Jimmy holds single-season records in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns at tight end for both the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks; and is also the overall career leader at tight end for receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns for both franchises. He is the only tight end in league history to have two seasons with 1,200-plus receiving yards and 10-plus receiving TDs (2011, 2013) and is the only tight end to register four consecutive seasons with 85-plus catches (2011-14). He also has recorded 64 career touchdown receptions in the red zone, ranking No. 1 in the league since 2010. In 2020 he was tied for third in the NFC with 22 catches and fourth in the NFL among tight ends with four touchdowns caught.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year

Jimmy continues to support the men and women who serve in the US military, as he has done throughout his NFL career. The mission of The Jimmy Graham Foundation ( is to provide life-changing and impactful experiences through the freedom of flight. To recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices of veterans of all eras and provide flights for unfamiliar and underprivileged youth as an introduction to aviation. Jimmy takes veterans up in his two US Army aircraft restorations - a 1957 DeHavilland Beaver and 1967 UH1 Iroquois "Huey" helicopter. The Huey served as a part of the 170th Assault Helicopter Company. Both aircrafts fought in the Vietnam War, and they are the cornerstone of his giving back to our country. This past year Jimmy personally provided over 50 flights to veterans in South Florida. An extraordinary flight was with Tee Sifford, a pilot and purple heart veteran from the Vietnam war.

Through the Bears Care online auction, Bids for Bears Care, Jimmy donated a flight in one of his aircrafts for the winning bidder and three guests. All proceeds from the auction benefited Bears Care, the charitable arm of the Chicago Bears, which supports targeted programs in education, youth athletics, women's cancer research, and initiatives addressing health and economic disparities.

In 2020, the Bears announced that Devices 4 The Disabled was our Community All-Pro winner, receiving a $101,000 grant. Their mission is to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the medical equipment they need and the mobility they deserve. As part of the organization's relationship with D4D, Jimmy participated in a Zoom call with a young man named Bryan, who was nearly paralyzed from gun violence. He has maintained a relationship with the boy and visited with him at Bears Training Camp, provided him with tickets to the Bears vs. Packers game, and spent time with him at the airplane hangar where he keeps one of his planes. D4D named him their Person of the Year for his support of the organization and Bryan personally.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past

Jimmy has consistently given back throughout his career. He has worked extensively with the Wounded Warrior Project and Angel Flight. He welcomed Wounded Warrior veterans at his charity corn hole tournaments in Green Bay in both 2018 & 2019. During his time in Seattle, Jimmy hosted veterans every week at the Seahawks facility on Lake Washington, flying them to the facility in his seaplane to thank them for their service. Jimmy has worked with Angel Flight going back to his time in New Orleans. Angel Flight's mission is to arrange free air transportation for people who need to travel to receive lifesaving medical treatment but lack the means. Also, during his time in New Orleans, he partnered with the local Navy base to give away bikes to 80 children. This season and last, he has donated tickets to each Bears home game for the Bears' Boeing Military Salute honoree. During every game, an extraordinary service member is recognized in-game and enjoys watching the Bears from seats, compliments of Jimmy.

In recognition of his overall commitment to the military, Jimmy was named the Chicago Bears nominee for the NFL Salute to Serve award in 2020 and 2021. He continually supports community partners virtually, and in 2020, he donated $100,000 to Ignite, an organization that supports homeless teens.

Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back

Jimmy spent time in a group home and was eventually adopted by a young single mother as a child. The experience shaped him and has driven him to give back consistently. When speaking to foster children, he shares the message that everything is going to get easier and expresses to mentors how much it means for the kids to have someone in their lives that believes in them. He continues to live a life of service.

Since 2018, he has served as the Co-Chairman of the EAA Young Eagles Program, a nationwide charity giving youth their first free ride in an airplane to introduce and inspire kids in the world of aviation. You can learn more about his foundation at The Jimmy Graham Foundation has partnered with Luna Cafe in Wisconsin to sell the "Huey Blend" coffee, supporting the Jimmy Graham Foundation. The Chicago Bears are proud to nominate Jimmy Graham for this award. He leads by example. He is a mentor to many, including his younger teammates, and spends most off days from football by sharing his love of aviation flying children and veterans.