Former Rebel Manning Finalist For NFL Man Of The Year

Eli Manning (Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)

Former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning has been named a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

One of the most prestigious awards in professional football, it is named for the late, great Walter Payton, a Mississippian and NFL Hall of Famer.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes a current NFL player for excellence both on and off the field. Each team nominates a player for the annual award. Manning was named the New York Giants Man of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

The two other finalists are Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.

(Photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)

Per Giants.com: Manning has been of the Giants’ – and the NFL’s – most active players in the community since his rookie season in 2004.
Championing causes that involve children has always been a priority for Manning, and that goal has intensified now that he is the father of three young daughters.
Manning has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies for the past seven years, joining thousands of New Yorkers in the walk in support of March of Dimes.

Providing additional access for top sponsors, engaging donors and raising awareness of the organization's platform, Manning’s efforts with March for Babies helped raise more than $25 million over the past seven years. He also spearheads “Tackle Kids' Cancer,” an initiative with Hackensack University Medical Center. Prior to kicking off an extensive media campaign to raise awareness of this cause, Manning spent time with patients and doctors at the hospital's pediatric cancer center, learning more about the greatest needs in cancer research.

When he realized the state of Mississippi – where he attended college and still owns a home – had only one children's hospital in Mississippi, Manning and his wife founded the Eli and Abby Manning Children's Clinics in 2007. They kicked off a five-year fundraising campaign that raised almost $3 million in five years. Building on that accomplishment and model, they also created the University of Mississippi Medical Center Manning Family Fund, which received close to $1.5 million in its first year in 2015.

In addition to his work on behalf of children, Manning devotes his time and resources to numerous other initiatives, both in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, and on a national level. They include working with the American Red Cross, including collecting and filling an airplane with supplies to fly down to New Orleans to in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and working on an emergency response vehicle in the days after superstorm Sandy; his nearly 10-year relationship with and commitment to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that trains guide dogs; his participation in the No More campaign his contribution to Operation Smile's NYC gala; his scholarship endowment at the University of Mississippi; and his fulfillment of numerous Make-A-Wish and Wounded Warrior experiences.

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