(NEW YORK) — The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is regarded as one of the biggest honors an NFL player can achieve in his career, and it has little to do with their on the field production. The award recognizes a players accomplishments in the community as well as their performance on the football field. The finalists for the award have been named: San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, and Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
Birk’s “Ready, Set, Read!” program advocates children in the Baltimore area to read at home. He is also a big supporter for research into the effects of concussions, including pledging his brain and spinal cord tissue to Boston University’s Center for Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Rivers as well as his wife have founded The Rivers of Hope foundation. His program helps abandoned and orphaned children find homes. Rivers has pledged to donate all of his earning off the field towards his foundation.
Tillman founded the Charles Tillman Cornerstone, which tries to improve the well being of critically and chronically ill children.
The winner of the award will be annoucned the night before the Super Bowl.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN