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'It's an Honor': Corey Peters Named Cardinals Walter Payton Man of the Year

For his work with students in the Phoenix community, Corey Peters gets recognized.

For the second time in his career, Cardinals nose tackle Corey Peters was named his team's Walter Payton Man of the Year. 

Every year, the award is granted to one player on each team for community service off the field. During the Super Bowl, the winners will be recognized, and one player will win the league-wide award. 

The winner gets a $250,000 donation sent to the charity of his choice.

Peters found ways to stay engaged in his community during the pandemic, especially with the South Pointe School District in Phoenix. 

In 2012, he started the Peters Education Enrichment Program, and through it he has hosted book clubs with students for years. Usually, he would be at the school, providing lunch and discussions. 

When the pandemic started, he was no longer able to see the students in person. So, he set up a virtual book club to keep the work going. 

"In our book club, having sessions over and over, and getting to see (students) at the start versus where they grow to, something as simple as public speaking, addressing the group, being more comfortable with sharing their opinion, even if it's something that may not be a popular opinion," Peters said of seeing progress in kids. "The biggest thing for me is just seeing kids grow through some of our programming. Having them come up to me in a community sometimes and really talk about things that they've learned or things that they've improved upon, that always makes me feel fulfilled."

Providing students a chance at a better education is his passion. 

Earlier this year, during Super Bowl week, he supplied backpacks and other school supplies to students at Fisher Elementary School in the Miami-Dade County Public School District. The Super Bowl was played in Miami. 

"I feel like academics is the one way to ensure success," Peters said. "And when I say that, I don't necessarily mean that if you go to school, you're going to get exactly the job that you want. But I think that giving yourself options in this world is your best bet to make sure you have a successful life."

Just before training camp, he hosted a drive-through delivering school supplies, food and other needs for 150 families in South Pointe School District.

Peters' on-field season ended when he suffered a knee injury in Week 10. But, nine days later, he hosted a food drive for Thanksgiving, donating turkeys to students and their families.

While Peters has done a lot for the community this year, he pointed out Thursday that he is on a team with a lot of candidates for the award. 

Cornerback Patrick Peterson hosted a weekly dinner for homeless people in Phoenix. Running back Kenyan Drake worked with the Children's Hospital. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has already won the league's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award before. 

"I was really shocked," Peters said. "It's a great honor, especially with the men that we have on this team, the men in the locker room. I know the work that they put in the community. So, I'm honored to be chosen in an organization that had lots of options to pick from.

"With the ups and downs of the season, being injured, COVID, everything like that, it just makes me feel good. Something to smile about, be happy about in the time that I'm a little bit down. But obviously, it's a huge honor. And I'm proud to represent the organization."