This morning, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that P Dustin Colquitt was named the team's nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide.
Long considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, it recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. He is joined by candidates from each NFL team who were also announced today. This is the third time Colquitt has been nominated for the honor (2013, 2018, 2019).
"For 15 years, Dustin Colquitt has been a pillar of the Chiefs organization and the Kansas City community, and we are thrilled that he will once again represent the Chiefs as our nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. "Over the course of his career, Dustin has developed into one of the top punters in NFL history, and his character and humility have made him one of the leaders in our locker room for many years. But Dustin's commitment to the Kansas City community is what truly sets him apart. 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 improving the lives of youth in Kansas City, and he is once again a deserving candidate for one of the most prestigious honors in sports."
"The Kansas City Chiefs Community Outreach team is proactive in finding individuals and worthy organizations to support within our community. Over the past 15 seasons with the club, I have learned the fastest way to make our NFL communities a better place to live, work and play is to spend time with the people who make this a special place, uplift those with the greatest need, and be generous with things we have been gifted with," Colquitt said. "After spending time around the Payton family last year, I realized they graced us with the blueprint on how to make the communities we love a better place."
For the second year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIV. The 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV, on FOX. NFL Honors will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.
All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide. Along with the other 31 nominees, Colquitt will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments.
Over his 15-year career, Colquitt has committed himself to the people of Kansas City and causes that are important to him. For 13 years, Colquitt has partnered with TeamSmile and currently sits on its Board of Directors. His efforts have resulted in nearly 50,000 underserved children receiving more than $21 million in complimentary dental and preventative care services as well as education across the country. He is actively involved in recruiting his NFL peers to join the movement and establish TeamSmile events in their clubs' markets, with more than a dozen other NFL teams hosting events in 2019.
His "Punting for Smiles" campaign also delivers $500 to TeamSmile for every punt inside the 20-yard line. For every $50 raised, a child receives an average of $450 worth of dental services. Personally, Colquitt has donated $20,000 out of pocket each year to TeamSmile. For his nomination as the Chiefs Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2018, Colquitt earmarked his $50,000 donation for TeamSmile, allowing the charity to upgrade their equipment to maximize efficiency in providing dental services to youth.
Kansas City-area children receive dental health screenings from TeamSmile and United Way volunteers and participate in PLAY 60 activities as part of the 13th annual Kansas City Oral Health Care Day.
In addition to his work with TeamSmile, Dustin has joined with his family to impact education. Along with his father, former Steelers and Colts P Craig Colquitt, and his brother, Vikings P Britton Colquitt, Dustin has 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 youth at a local penitentiary, which instilled a sense of character and giving back from a young age.
Colquitt also dedicates countless hours to mentoring initiatives through his church, Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also served multiple years as a Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador (2013-18) and regularly visited schools to share the benefits of eating healthy and staying active. Colquitt has also been 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 and 2019).
This season, Colquitt has appeared in all 13 games, punting 42 times for 1,851 yards, good for a 44.1-yard average. He has landed 18 of his punts inside the 20-yard line, with a season-long punt of 68 yards, all while allowing just two touchbacks.
For his career, Colquitt has appeared in a franchise-record 235 games, 11 more than the next closest player. He has 1,118 punts for 50,118 yards, good for a 44.8 gross average with a 39.8 net average. In last week's victory at New England, Colquitt became the ninth player in NFL history to record more than 50,000 gross punting yards (50,118) and needs just 219 punting yards to move into eighth place on the NFL's all-time gross punting chart. He has landed 459 career punts inside the 20, the third-most in NFL history, needing just 11 more punts inside the 20 to move into second place in NFL history.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 5th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 12 and Jan. 12 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, respectively, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.