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NFL Man of the Year Nominees 2022 | 49ers |


San Francisco 49ers


Arik Armstead


Table inside Article
Position College Years in the NFL
Defensive Lineman University of Oregon 8

Excellence on the Field:

The 49ers originally selected Arik Armstead (6-7, 290) in the first round (17th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Throughout his eight-year career (2015-22), he has appeared in 98 games (79 starts) and registered 269 tackles, 28.5 sacks, six passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Arik has also been named a defensive captain three times in his career (2020-2022). In 2019, he registered single-season career highs in tackles (54), sacks (10.0), passes defensed (two), forced fumbles (two) and fumble recoveries (one). His 10.0 sacks led the team and ranked tied for 15th in the NFL in 2019. He also started all three postseason contests and added eight tackles, 2.0 sacks and one forced fumble. He signed a five-year contract extension with the team on March 16, 2020. Last year, Arik started all 17 regular season games, registering 6.0 sacks, 63 tackles and 11 QB hits and started all three postseason games, racking up 3.0 sacks and nine tackles. Dealing with injuries this year, he has started three games and registered five tackles, including one tackle for loss.

Dedication & Commitment to Community Efforts This Year:

Arik Armstead has earned the unprecedented distinction of being the 49ers Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee for a third year in recognition of his unrivaled accomplishments on the field and in the community. This year, his significant community investments through his time and treasure were even grander than his 6'7" stature. Centered on social justice, he cemented his commitment to youth education equity through his foundation, the Armstead Academic Project (AAP), established in 2019. Approving an annual operating budget of $700K, Arik recently hired a full-time Executive Director to ensure his nonprofit's sustainable impact. With his time, Arik met with politicians and media outlets, advocating for statewide legislation for additional funding to support 80,000 unfunded Black children in California. Arik efforts aided in securing a commitment from Governor Newsom to increase resources and services in 2023 for the lowest performing students, particularly to address the needs of Black students. As an advocate, Arik joined Bay Area philanthropy panels as a keynote speaker to inspire others to close gaps of inequity in their communities. Believing that literacy and guidance are integral to success, he grew his Storytime with Arik Armstead program, reading to nearly 200 students in seven classrooms. In addition to mentoring students at a juvenile detention facility, Arik provided enrichment experiences for underserved youth including funding college tours for 100 students, purchasing 100 tickets for kids to attend 49ers games, and providing reading glasses for 225 students. Arik insists that EVERY student, no matter their socioeconomic status, has direct access to resources to thrive. He backs up that vision with his treasure, investing $250,000+ into his hometown of Sacramento for the second consecutive year to provide meaningful resources for over 500 low-income students - enrolling 190 youth in the Armstead afterschool and summer reading programs, providing 155 fifth and sixth graders access to a yearlong STEM college course, and preparing 170 high schoolers with college and career experiences. Despite formalizing his own nonprofit simultaneously, Arik has remained a constant at 49ers-driven community events, influential as a leader and captain. Alongside his teammates, Arik led the 49ers Players Social Justice Council, mentored incarcerated youth, and rallied over a dozen teammates to visit the Sunnydale housing projects in San Francisco. His goodwill extends beyond social justice, honoring Crucial Catch cancer warriors, and hosting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for Halloween festivities.

Dedication & Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past:

Arik Armstead's third consecutive WPMOY nomination demonstrates his steadfast dedication and commitment to the community. He also encourages his teammates to use their platform to support underserved communities, welcoming them by his side to empower and inspire. From hosting storytimes, youth football camps, and college field trips, to free health and wellness fairs, and providing resources, warm meals and school supplies, Arik does it all, like reading to nearly 3,000 students in over 30 in-person and more classrooms virtually, to encourage them to reach grade-level literacy standards through the Storytime with Arik Armstead program Sponsoring and hosting over 2,250 students for youth football camps and college field trips. He has donated over $500,000 (of $2M committed) to support Sacramento youth. He purchased, wrapped, and delivered over $20,000 in holiday gifts to UC Davis Hospital pediatric patients for six consecutive years. During COVID-19, Arik launched campaigns to provide meals and supplies to the community including donating $50,000 and personally delivering 350 Chromebooks, one-year of pre-paid internet service and education kits to multi-student families through Mercy Housing's low-income housing complexes. On top of his personal efforts, each season Arik has ranked in the top 10 players when tallying hours spent volunteering for 49ers Community Impact events. Alongside his teammates, he has invested in the next generation of football players by coaching players with Down syndrome, led hundreds of youth through football drills, and mentored high school athletes at character building seminars. Perhaps the most notable feature of Armstead's dedication to the community is not in the large quantity of youth he has served but through his commitment to quality. Arik strives to make lasting change by focusing his efforts on education equity at both the student and systemic levels. Arik's ethos, that "a zip code should not define student opportunity" is one that pushes him beyond event-based impact and into outcome-based programming to close critical academic gaps. This past offseason, Arik collaborated with nonprofit providers and educators to identify 23 elementary youth in need of comprehensive academic support and piloted a 4-week tutoring program where credentialed teachers helped them make swift leaps in reading levels through targeted interventions. Arik is now working towards mirroring this model and scaling the program to other Sacramento and Bay Area schools to close the literacy gap and help students succeed.

Positive Character & a Lifestyle of Giving Back:

Arik Armstead consistently demonstrates his passion for giving back through his words and actions. As he shares, "I have been so blessed…and I feel it is my responsibility to use everything I have to help others navigate spaces where the odds are stacked against them." And his actions follow, from directly engaging with youth weekly, providing resources for educators and parents, to hosting city-wide engagements, advocating for legislative changes, and encouraging others to give, he remains unwavering in his commitment to the community. Using his platform and voice, Arik makes visible the causes of those who are overlooked and implores others to do the same. During the 2020 season's pressers, he chose to highlight major societal issues including funding for school districts of color, racism and implicit bias, and voting. He helped launch Subject to Change, a video series featuring discussions on Race and Police Brutality moderated by NFL Networks' Steve Wyche, joined Senator Cory Booker to promote civic engagement, and narrated the story of Stephon Clark's murder through NFL's "Say Their Stories." Arik is a leader of the 49ers Players Social Justice Council and over three years, has helped direct $2M+ of team funding towards nonprofits following the tragic murder of George Floyd. Arik is the model for his advocacy efforts and leads by example on the field too, as exemplified by his selection as a Team Captain for three consecutive years and the 2020 Perry/Yonamine Unity Award winner by teammate vote for promoting unity both in the locker room and community. Finally, Arik's giving history shows his action through philanthropy totaling over $500,000 with a commitment to build a future Armstead Academic Center in Sacramento. Arik legacy will endure through his foundation, on a mission to ensure zip codes do not limit students' academic success and opportunity. The San Francisco 49'ers are proud to select Arik Armstead as their 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.