Travis Kelce Named Chiefs' Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee

The Kansas City Chiefs have selected tight end Travis Kelce as their nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
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The Kansas City Chiefs have selected tight end Travis Kelce as their nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

The NFL announced the 32 nominees for the NFL’s “most prestigious honor” on Thursday. On Friday, Kelce discussed his nomination with members of the media.

“Football is just a game,” Kelce said. “We’re talking about life. To be able to help somebody have a better future, being able to lend a helping hand so somebody has a better situation. That’s making a difference.”

The Chiefs chose Kelce due to his contributions to Operation Breakthrough through his foundation, Eighty-Seven & Running.

His non-profit of choice benefits children and families in need through advocacy, emergency aid and education.

Thanks to Kelce, the organization will soon be expanding its reach to teenagers through the launch of the “Ignition Lab: Powered by Eighty-Seven & Running.” He purchased a building that will house the program in August.

“Once they get to high school, they have somewhere they can go and collaboratively connect and design,” Kelce said. “That’s something I really wanted to do for the community and specifically Operation Breakthrough, knowing how awesome they are over there. It’s such a genuine and loving place.”

Kelce now hopes to become the NFL-best sixth member of the Chiefs organization to win the Man of the Year award.

Linebacker Willie Lanier (1972), quarterback Len Dawson (1973), linebacker Derrick Thomas (1993), offensive lineman Will Shields (2003) and offensive lineman Brian Waters (2009) are all Chiefs who have won the award.

“Getting in this community, showing that we love them too, and we appreciate what they do and that we’re here to help and lend a helping hand when we can, that’s everything. That’s what the Chiefs stand for," Kelce said. "You’ve seen it. It’s not just one guy here and there, it’s every single year you see everybody in this building trying to get back into this community.”

The 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during the NFL Honors the week of Super Bowl LV.

As a nominee, the Eighty-Seven and Running Foundation will receive $40,000. If Kelce wins, his foundation will receive $250,000.

“I’ve said it before, I think individual accolades are a bit overrated in this game, but this is the one that you can have a lot of honor and a lot of pride for,” Kelce said.