Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was named 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year at "NFL Honors" on Saturday night in recognition of his off-the-field community service and playing excellence.
The eight-time Pro Bowler is active in several non-profit organizations, and serves as the Dallas Cowboys' spokesman for "NFL Play 60" -- a program which encourages children to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse childhood obesity. Witten also has his own charitable endeavor in the SCORE Foundation, which has helped fun several building projects in Texas and his native Tennessee.
Witten has also dedicated himself to stopping domestic violence. Witten's JWSF SCOREkeepers program utilizes male mentors working with children living in battered women's shelters to demonstrate positive male behavior.
"I am extremely flattered to be chosen the 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year from such an esteemed group of nominees," Witten said in a statement. "I work hard every day not only to be a success on the football field and a credit to my team -- but to be a good husband, father, son, grandson, teammate -- to be the kind of man that is as respected as Walter Payton was. Like others before me, I have a great opportunity as an NFL player to make a difference in the lives of others."
Jarrett and Brittney Payton, the children of NFL great Walter Payton's, will honor Witten at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII.
Witten joins an esteemed list of winners of the annual award, including 17 Pro Football Hall of Famers.