Three Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominees Have Ties to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Bears’ Trey Burton, Chiefs’ Dustin Colquitt and Buccaneers’ Gerald McCoy Make an Impact in Their Community and on Their Teams as Christ-Followers
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—On the eve of Super Bowl LIII, an NFL standout and community leader from each of the league’s 32 teams will wait to see if their name is called as the Walter Payton Man of the Year. The prize, however, will not be for the winner but for others.
Three of these nominees have ties to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) and have talked about their faith with the international sports ministry, thereby impacting fans of all ages.
Trey Burton | Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton was featured on the FCA website last year just before Super Bowl LII while he played for Philadelphia Eagles.
In the story about the impact of Eagles’ players on their Philly community, FCA recounted how several Eagles players, including Burton, Zach Ertz, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Marcus Johnson, Chris Maragos, Jordan Matthews, Torrey Smith and Carson Wentz, gathered with student-athletes at FCA Huddles during the team’s offseason, which led up to the franchise’s first Super Bowl win months later.
During one gathering, Burton donned a helmet, shield and sword, among other pieces of equipment, to show how Christians should put on the armor of God in every spiritual battle. The players explained how their weekly Bible study strengthens their bond on the field and in their relationship with Christ.
“As men, we tend to be very sheltered,” Burton said in a video about the Eagles’ faith bond. “If I’m going through some things, I may not express that … but when you can expose your weaknesses and things you want to work on, whether it’s in your relationship or your marriage or your family, when you’re able to talk about it amongst your brothers, amongst your family, it helps you grow. And when you realize you can apply biblical principles to it, it helps us all grow.”
For the Walter Payton Man of the Year, Burton was nominated by his Bears’ teammates for his involvement in the Chicago community in just the short time he’s been part of the team. He supports the Bears’ team charity, Bears Care, by attending the Bears Care Gala. He also joined his teammates and donated his time for an auction to raise funds for breast and ovarian cancer research. He has become a role model for his teammates, displaying how to balance football and community giving. Burton was also involved in the Bears’ school outreach program, attending a “Becoming a Man” session, which focuses on six core values: integrity, accountability, self-determination, positive anger expression, visionary goal setting and respect for womanhood.
Dustin Colquitt | Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt joined up with teammates Ryan Succop and Thomas Gafford to record a special FCA video where they talk about the bond they share through their faith.
“I think God put me in this position as a punter and in professional football because … He wants something out of me to be able to share with other people,” Colquitt said in the video. “As a Christian, I think God has given me that platform to say, ‘Hey, I’ve allowed you to do a lot of things and I need you to speak My name. He always finds a way to put His people in situations where they can spread His Word and spread His name.”
Colquitt was nominated by his teammates for the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his 12-year partnership with TeamSmile. In 2018 alone, Colquitt’s efforts resulted in 7,750 underserved children receiving $3.5 million in complimentary dental and preventative care procedures. Since 2007, Colquitt’s TeamSmile leadership has ensured that 40,000 children have received more than $18 million in care, services and education. Colquitt also has a history of involvement with Kids TLC for Children and Families, an agency focused on evidence-based therapies and trauma-informed care. He chaired TLC’s Gala from 2010-14, raising $2.78 million, while also helping lead a successful $7 million capital campaign to reach the autistic community. He also established the Kicks for Kids Foundation shortly after entering the NFL.
Gerald McCoy | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was featured in an FCA Magazine story, where he wrote an essay about his childhood, early adulthood, college career and his path to the NFL.
“As professional athletes,” McCoy shared, “we have a huge platform to change the world. But it’s not about the platform; it’s what you do with it. I believe God put me here to make a difference, to be a vessel, and to be that change to reach my teammates, community and the world. In order to do that I know I have to be around guys who have the same mindset as me. We have a good core group of guys here in our weekly Bible study, and we make sure to keep each other accountable.
“I want people to see something different about me,” he added. “I want them to see the power of God through the way I compete and carry myself on the field. The Bible says that in everything you do, do it wholeheartedly unto the Lord and not unto human masters (Colossians 3:23). So, if I’m playing to please God and use the talent He’s given me, nobody should ever outwork me.”
McCoy was nominated by his fellow Buccaneers for his commitment to the Tampa Bay community since he arrived in 2010. McCoy’s newest endeavor has been his involvement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Social Justice Board, a player-led program that aims to create change in the Tampa Bay community. He participated in the program’s inaugural event at the Tampa Police Citizens Training Academy, where he led a candid discussion with law enforcement about issues facing society. He has led the Buccaneers’ “Cut for a Cure” fundraising team and rallied the support of teammates to raise over $140,000 for the cause. By the end of the 2018 season, McCoy had invited over 2,000 community members to Tampa Bay home games. He hosts free screenings of movies for members of the non-profit community and awarded the Pop Warner “Inspiration to Youth” honor for the second year in a row. His annual “McCoy Family Christmas” event also gives back to underserved communities. Besides involvement with several other organizations, McCoy has also served as a speaker for FCA events and fundraisers.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award annually recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970 and was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.
Finalists will be honored and the 2018 winner will be announced during the “NFL Honors,” a two-hour special airing Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. The winner each year receives $250,000 donated to United Way in his name to expand Character Playbook across the country and up to $250,000 donated to the winner’s charity of choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a $50,000 donation in their name to expand Character Playbook and up to $50,000 donated to their charity of choice. Donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
View the media page for FCA here. For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.