(East Los Angeles, CA)[From The Editor’s Desk]: The Los Angeles Chargers have nominated their All-Pro Safety, #3 Derwin James, Jr. for the second consecutive year to be a candidate for one of the NFL’s most prestigious player awards, the “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.”
James, in coordination with the Chargers Impact Fund, has consistently returned to engage several of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Boys & Girls Clubs in South Los Angeles and other locations, where he interacts with their “Club Kids” and youngsters who benefit from his strong, timely, and meaningful goodwill acts as he demonstrates them to the Kids and their immediate families, whenever they are present.
In this post, we have included several “links” to the reporting on our coverage of the events that are written about in the Chargers press announcement below. A reminder that Charger fans are greatly encouraged to participate in the voting for their chosen player. Directions can be read at the conclusion of this posting.
Three-time All-Pro Safety Derwin James Earns Second Consecutive Nomination for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award Presented by Nationwide
Winner to be Announced at NFL Honors during the week of Super Bowl LVIII
The Los Angeles Chargers proudly and recently announced that Derwin James has been nominated for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE for the second consecutive year. Considered one of the league’s most prestigious individual honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league’s 32 nominees were announced today.
Currently in his sixth NFL season, James is one of the NFL’s top safeties and the most versatile defensive chess piece in football. A three-time Pro Bowl starter at safety, as a rookie in 2018 James was named first-team All-Pro at safety and selected to the second-team at defensive back by The Associated Press. One of just four NFL players – and the only defensive back in the last 20 years – to top 400 tackles, nine sacks and eight interceptions within their first 60 games. James reached 400 career tackles in his 55th career game, doing so faster than any defensive back in the last 30 seasons. James has started all 64 career games with the Chargers, including three postseason contests, has served as team captain each of the past three seasons and 11 games played this season, has posted 82 tackles, an interception, a sack, four tackles for loss and three passes defensed.
Having grown into a position of leadership within the team and community since entering the league, James has been showing up for youth in Southern California since his first days as a Charger. Only days after being selected 17th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, he joined local youth football players at the site that would later become SoFi Stadium. From that day forward, James has consistently engaged with the community at team and player-led events while continuing to grow his outreach initiatives across a wide range of causes.
A former “Club Kid” member of his hometown Boys and Girls Club – James has been a longtime supporter of the organization. A consistent presence at Southern California clubs throughout his six NFL seasons, visiting with the children they serve and regularly hosting giveback events, this year James joined the Chargers Impact Fund for the launch of the Bolts Book Club summer reading program at the Watts-Willowbrook clubhouse. During the visit, in which he read to everyone in attendance and spoke on the importance of reading every day, James learned that the club had recently been fundraising to purchase school supplies for all its members but fell short of their goal. Without hesitation, and not something that was preplanned, James made up the difference – personally paying for school supplies and backpacks for 50 additional children.
James is also passionate about sharing his love of the game with others and has been a prominent champion of girls’ flag football and Chargers girls’ flag initiatives. In addition to hosting the Conquer SoCal girls’ flag team for a special meet-and-greet at Chargers Training Camp prior to its trip to the NFL Flag All 32 Summer Invitational, James attended the first annual Chargers Girls Flag Championship Tournament two days before playing in primetime on Sunday Night Football and spoke to all the participants to kick off the event.
Across the country in his hometown of Haines City, Florida, James hosted a free youth football camp for 400 athletes and provided them with $25,000+ worth of apparel and swag. He also outfitted 250 children from the greater Haines City community with backpacks at the start of the 2023 school year. And this past November, James continued giving back to underserved youth in both Haines City and Santa Ana, California by hosting Thanksgiving events in each city – personally attending the Santa Ana event where he helped serve a complete Thanksgiving dinner to more than 150 local families while helping prepare over 200 packaged meals earmarked for delivery to underserved families.
James also recently hosted Derwin’s Disco at Wallis Annenberg GenSpace, a state-of-the-art senior center in Los Angeles. Asked why hosting an event for the aging community was important, he explained, “I don’t want people to think we [forget] them. I want to make them feel young again.” With this deep appreciation for the senior community, James funded and hosted a 70s-themed party that included a light-up dance floor, DJ and games. The 120 GenSpace members in attendance got to know James, went home with gifts and experienced an unforgettable afternoon full of dancing, food and fun.
In partnership with the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, this past October James also hosted 40 courageous breast cancer patients and survivors at the team training facility during NFL “Crucial Catch” cancer awareness month. Tailored to uplift, James joined all the participants in a mindfulness session and meditation experience on the Chargers practice field.
James, the Chargers’ 2021 nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, also sponsors the Chargers Impact Fund “Community Corner” program. Through the program, James will host more than 300 children from underserved communities at Chargers games throughout the 2023 season.
Previous work in the community that helped earn him his first Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nomination has included partnering with Snoop Dogg to hand out free Beyond Meat items in the LA community, appearing at Oakley and Chargers-led OneSight events to encourage kids to get the eyewear they critically need to do well in school and extracurricular activities, opening a newly renovated field at South Park Recreation Center in South LA while helping local high school football players refine their skills during the ribbon cutting event, recording a PSA with his young family for the nonprofit Baby2Baby in support of its formula program during the 2022 formula supply shortage, raising awareness and funding for team-led animal welfare initiatives through appearances at events and the Chargers annual pet calendar and hosting a shopping spree for a long-time fan and his family who lost their house in a fire just months earlier.
“I’m incredibly blessed and honored to be named a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for the second year,” said James. “I know how special of an honor this is and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to service my community and want to continue to take every opportunity to support my community in any way possible. A highlight of my career is being able help to those who need it and bring joy to the people around me. I want to leave this community better than how I found it and will continue to strive for that even long after my career ends. Being a role model for not just for my son, but to also encouraging people and other players to help in their community is a legacy I hope to leave. To be recognized for this phenomenal award means a lot to me. I’m thankful to have the full support of the Chargers, the fans, my teammates, and coaches throughout my NFL career.”
As a nominee, James will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the 2023 season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field. All 32 nominees will be recognized for their achievements during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. The 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally on CBS on Thursday, Feb. 8. Each nominee will receive up to a $55,000 donation, and the award winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are made possible by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
This year, fans are once again encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s annual Charity Challenge, a social media and online contest that allows fans to show support for their favorite Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee. Fans can vote on X (formerly Twitter) by posting #WPMOYChallenge along with the last name/X handle of their chosen nominee or by voting directly on NFL.com/ManOfTheYear. In cases where multiple nominees share the same last name (i.e., Justin Jones and Jonathan Jones), all valid votes on X must include the #WPMOYChallenge hashtag and the nominee’s handle or full name.
The nominee who receives the most collective hashtag mentions and votes will win an additional $35,000 donation from Nationwide to the charity of their choice, with the runner-up receiving $10,000 and the third-place winner receiving $5,000. Charity Challenge voting takes place from Dec. 5 to Jan. 8.
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