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Browns’ Denzel Ward Named 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee

Ward has enjoyed a great season, but this may be his most important accolade yet.

The 2021 season has the Cleveland Browns at 6-6 overall to this point and not a whole lot to be overly happy with. One thing the team and fans can be excited about is the play of Denzel Ward.

Ward has looked like a shutdown corner this season, as well as an easy pro bowl selection when that time comes. The Ohio State product has been named the team’s 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work in the community, going above and beyond.

Ward and his family launched a foundation called Make Them Know Your Name. The mission is to bring awareness to heart health and help prevent heart related fatalities. Ward lost his father at an early age to the cause.

What an honor it is to be named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the Cleveland Browns,” Ward said in a press release.

To be mentioned in the same sentence as Walter Payton is a blessing. It means a lot to be nominated and represent my team, and to be among so many guys in this league who I respect and who have been doing this a lot longer than me.”

Ward is a native of Northeast Ohio, so he’s giving back to an area that has brought him up. Not only is he doing good things on the field, but off of the field as well.

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As a Cleveland native, it is a priority for me to give back to my community, and I hope I can make an impact in a lot of ways, not just in Northeast Ohio but everywhere. I have been fortunate enough with a great support system that helps keep me going on and off the field, and I am excited to see what is in store next,” Ward said.

Ward’s head coach Kevin Stefanski commented on the nomination for his star corner.

“The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is one of our league's most-prestigious honors, and Denzel's production on the field and in our community certainly make him worthy of this nomination," Stefanski said.

Prior to this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens Ward will be presented the award by the owners of the Cleveland Browns, Jimmy and Dee Haslam. 

Brandon Little is a writer for Sports Illustrated’s Browns Digest website and you can follow him on Twitter here. You can follow Browns Digest on Twitter as well here.

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