(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Walter Payton Man Of the Year Award is one of the most distinguished honors an NFL player can receive. It recognizes players whose accomplishments in the community are as strong as their contributions on the football field. This year, the award was given to Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk.
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.
The 35-year old Birk just wrapped up his 14th season in the NFL. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round in the 1998 NFL draft. He then joined the Baltimore Ravens back in 2009.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire