San Francisco – 49ers free agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the NFL Honors awards ceremony. Boudin was one of three finalists that included New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and New Orleans tight end Benjamin Watson. “This award means a lot. It’s definitely an honor for me to be honored in this way. I think it’s an award that all of the guys in the NFL relate to, but I think I speak for myself when I speak for the guys that were nominated with me, we don’t do it for awards or the accolades. We really do it because we truly believe in what we’re doing and it’s in our hearts,” Boldin said. “It definitely ranks right at the top. For me, football is momentary, but helping people definitely lasts for a lifetime, and honestly, it goes on even after you’re dead and gone.”
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 after Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter “Sweetness” Payton.
The Anquan Boldin Foundation, Q81 was formed in 2004 to expand the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged youth. Boldin and his wife Dionne, personally pledged $1 Million to increase the impact of their Foundation. The Foundation offers a summer enrichment program, provides meals annually for the underserved, and offers collegiate scholarships. Boldin also works with Oxfam America, and appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Right to address human rights concerns around the issue of gold mining in Senegal. Boldin’s charity, Q81 will receive a $55,000 donation courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide. The runner-ups received an $11,000 donation.
49ers CEO Jed York said, “Anquan Boldin is a tremendous example of a professional athlete who has used the platform the National Football League affords him to positively impact the lives of others. The diversity of his philanthropic efforts and the hands-on approach he takes to providing for those who cannot provide for themselves is widely respected throughout professional sports. Anquan has been a great ambassador for the San Francisco 49ers, and we congratulate him on being named this.
The Walter Payton finalists were chosen by Commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Sports Illustrated writer Peter King, Connie Payton, Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz, San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis.