The Bengals nominated DE Sam Hubbard for the 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
"It means everything to me," said Hubbard, who was born and raised in Cincinnati. "A lot of people aren't fortunate enough to be drafted by their hometown team where they grew up, and where they have all their roots and all their family and friends. To be able to make an impact in Cincinnati is a special opportunity that I want to make the most of."
Earlier this year, Hubbard launched the Sam Hubbard Foundation, which aims to help people in Ohio combat hunger and provide vulnerable children and families with educational, medical and athletic resources.
Hubbard is also giving back to the Cincinnati community this holiday season. In November, he worked with The Passion Plate to feed 100 people with homemade meals for Thanksgiving. Hubbard and his family packed up the meals and then handed out full Thanksgiving dinners at the Freestore Foodbank's workforce development program, Cincinnati COOKS!, as well as at the Lighthouse Sheakley Center for Youth. This month, Hubbard will be treating local kids to a holiday shopping spree at his Shop with a Pro event.
Last year, Hubbard launched a fundraiser to support the Freestore Foodbank during the COVID-19 pandemic. His efforts helped raise $85,000, which provided 250,000 meals to people in need in the Greater Cincinnati area.
As a nominee, and in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field, Hubbard will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the 2021 season.
For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The winner of the 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special that will air on ABC the Thursday before Super Bowl LVI.
All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to a charity of their 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.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's seventh annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by either Hubbard's last name or Twitter handle (@SamHubbard). The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.