Defensive end Cliff Avril is the Seattle Seahawks’ nominee for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Every NFL team selects one player for one of the highest honors across the league that recognizes community work and excellence on and off the field. “It’s cool to get recognition,” Avril said. “It’s an honor, so many guys have done so much stuff before me and to be a part of that group of guys that even get considered is pretty cool.”
The 32 nominees are trimmed down to a group of three finalists before determining the award recipient. The 2016 winner will be given a donation of $1 million dollars that will be made in his name, with $500,000 going to a charity of his choice and $500,000 supporting the expansion of Character Playbook, an interactive online course focused on youth character development and building healthy relationships. The other two finalists will each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice and a $125,000 donation in their names to expand Character Playbook, while the additional 29 team winners will receive a $50,000 donation to a charity of choice and an additional $50,000 donation in their name to implement Character Playbook in their club market. All donations are provided courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
The selection process for the award consists of two rounds of voting by a panel of judges. The first round will include 13 voters who will review all 32 nominations and select three finalists. A subgroup of five members from the first panel will vote again to select the winner by ranking the finalists 1-2-3. The three finalists will be announced in January, with the winner being named during the NFL Honors show, which airs the day before Super Bowl LI.
The last full calendar year has been a busy one for Avril, to say the least. The ninth-year pro arranged and participated in 27 community events in Washington and Florida, in addition to his foundation’s work across the water in Haiti — the birthplace of his parents — where Avril traveled to in April to help rebuild an elementary school, host a mobile medical clinic and a football camp in a trip coordinated through Free the Children. Furthermore, after the country was devastated by Hurricane Matthew, Avril pledged to turn every sack he records this season into a home in Haiti.
“It’s pretty cool to see how the city of Seattle gets behind you when you’re doing something positive,” Avril said.
Cornerback Richard Sherman, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and quarterback Russell Wilson were the other Seahawks nominees for their outstanding charitable work.
“So many guys are doing so many different things that are changing so many people’s lives,” Avril said. “It’s definitely a culture thing and I’m just happy to be a part of the squad and to get recognized.”
Aron Yohannes | seahawks.com | December 7, 2016