This morning, the National Football League announced that Kansas City Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt was the team's nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Colquitt was also the Chiefs nominee in 2009. Colquitt is joined by candidates from each NFL team in consideration for this renowned accolade.
"We are incredibly proud of Dustin Colquitt representing the Chiefs organization as our nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. "As a player Dustin has been among the best at his position for the entirety of his career. As a teammate his loyalty to the Chiefs organization is unparalleled, and his character and charisma make him an invaluable leader of the team. None of those attributes, however, equal Dustin's commitment to the Kansas City Community. Through his leadership at TeamSmile and his involvement with Fuel Up to Play 60, Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Dustin has shown tremendous dedication to improve the lives of youth in Kansas City, and we believe he is a worthy candidate for one of the most prestigious honors in sports."
"Having the Chiefs blessing as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee humbles my heart," Colquitt said. "This organization and city have embraced me from the first time I stepped through the doors. There is a huge calling to serve others in this life and you can do that with love, time, talents and effort, and Walter Payton embodied that through an incredible ability to reach people and communities with his soul and his passions. God gave him the gift of being a great athlete and determined man, and he left a legacy that allows all of those who come after him to make their NFL communities a better place."
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Five hundred thousand dollars will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner. Of that total, $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
This season, Colquitt has punted 34 times for 1,535 yards, good for a 45.1-yard average. He has landed 16 of his punts inside the 20-yard line with a season-long of 67 yards.
Over the course of his 14-year career, Colquitt's 218 games played ranks second all-time for the Chiefs. He has punted 1,065 times totaling 47,781 yards for a 44.9-yard average and landed 436 punts inside the 20-yard line with a career-long of 81 yards.He ranks first in franchise history in all of these categories and has twice been named to the Pro Bowl (2012, 2016). Colquitt was drafted by the Chiefs with the 99th overall pick in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Tennessee.
Beyond the field, Colquitt has displayed a tremendous dedication to the people of Kansas City. For 12 years, Colquitt has partnered with TeamSmile and currently sits on its Board of Directors. His efforts have resulted in 40,000 underserved children receiving $18 million in complimentary dental and preventative care services and education. His "Punting for Smiles" campaign results in $500 from every punt inside the 20-yard donated to TeamSmile. For every $50 raised, a child receives an average of $450 worth of dental services. Personally, Colquitt donates $20,000 each year to TeamSmile.
The Colquitt family, comprised of NFL punters Dustin, his father, former Steelers and Colts P Craig Colquitt, and his brother, Browns P Britton Colquitt, endowed the "First Family of Fourth Down Scholarship Fund" at the University of Tennessee. As a high schooler, Colquitt and his family made visits to troubled youth at a local penitentiary, which instilled a sense of character and giving back from a young age.
In addition, Colquitt dedicates countless hours to mentoring initiatives through his church, Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also serves as a Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador and visits schools to share the benefits of eating right and staying active. Colquitt was the Chiefs recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award (2010), a finalist for the Byron "Whizzer" White Award (2015) and a nominee for the Bart Starr Award (2018).
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with Colquitt's last name somewhere in the post between Dec. 6 and Jan. 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at NFL.com/ManOfTheYear.
All 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award are listed at NFL.com/ManOfTheYear. Colquitt and the 31 other nominees for the 2018 award began wearing a special helmet decal beginning during Week 14 games that will remain throughout the rest of the season in recognition of their nominations. Five of the previous award winners and current active players—New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis, Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, New York Giants QB Eli Manning and Houston Texas DE J.J. Watt—wear a patch on their jersey in honor of their accomplishments.