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Bozeman Named Ravens Nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — For the second-straight year, Ravens center Bradley Bozeman has been designated as the team's nominee for the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. 

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. Established in 1970, the award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant and positive impact on his community. Representing the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact, 32 players are selected as their team's Man of the Year and become eligible to win the national award.

On the field, Bozeman has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier offensive linemen, and has started every game along Baltimore’s line since the start of 2019. During the 2021 campaign, Bozeman has started all 12 games at center, helping guide the Ravens’ third-ranked (147.1 ypg) rushing attack. Bozeman snaps to and blocks for QB Lamar Jackson, who since entering the league in 2018 has rushed for an NFL-high 6.0 yards per carry. 

From 2018-21, Baltimore’s elite run game recorded 100-plus yards in 43 consecutive contests, tying the longest streak of its kind in pro football history (Pittsburgh Steelers; 1974-77). He also played on each of the Ravens' 1,192 offensive snaps during the 2019 campaign. That season, Bozeman anchored an offensive line that helped the Ravens set a new NFL single-season rushing record (3,296 yards) and produced the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense (33.2 points per game). In 2020, Bozeman started at left guard in all 16 games, helping block for the NFL’s No.1 rushing attack (191.9 ypg), which produced the third-most yards (3,071) ever in a 16-game NFL season.

While the unforeseen COVID-19 crisis caused their original philanthropic efforts to change, Bozeman and his wife Nikki didn’t let the pandemic stop them from providing incredible support to the Baltimore community when residents needed it the most. The main focus of their foundation seeks to make a difference in the lives of at-risk children and families by focusing on the dangers of childhood bullying.

At the beginning of 2020, the Bozemans embarked on a cross-country RV trip – from Maryland to California – with the intent to travel for six weeks, drive over 5,000 miles, address more than 12,000 kids in 18 schools with stops in 16 states along the way. While they did speak to thousands of students on their trip, it was abruptly cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic amid schools being shut down.

With the Bozemans unable to visit schools that year, Bradley and Nikki turned their efforts to combat one of the biggest needs in our area – food insecurity. COVID-19 has had a devasting impact on Marylanders, driving food insecurity numbers to unprecedented levels. Additionally, approximately 80% of Baltimore City School Students qualify for free and reduced meals, and with no school in session, the Bozemans knew the students they typically helped through anti-bullying messaging would not get the meals they so desperately needed.

Beginning in July 2020, the Bozemans started a meal distribution at Mount Pleasant Ministries in Baltimore. Every other week their efforts delivered 21,000 meals to over 300 families. They also ensured that each family left the distribution with a hot, already prepared meal that the family could eat that very night. Additionally, they created a special Halloween distribution that allowed children to dress up in costumes and safely “trick-or-treat,” and they hosted a special Thanksgiving food distribution in November. These distributions have continued throughout the offseason and into the 2021 season – distributing nearly two million meals in total.

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In 2021, the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation launched a collaborative charitable effort with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Maryland and the Baltimore City Police department to provide meaningful food and academic support to children living in Baltimore’s disadvantaged communities. Their SYNC Snack Program pairs kid-friendly snacks with critical academic and instructional resource materials and delivers them weekly to metro area Boys and Girls Club locations. The snacks are accompanied by educational resources, delivered through QR codes on the snack box that include the Bozeman Foundation’s online library of anti-bullying, diversity and inclusion video messaging.

The Ravens are proud to name Bradley Bozeman as their 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee and will continue to support Bozeman’s work as a positive force in Baltimore, both on and off the field. The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award will receive a $250,000 donation to their charity of choice. All other 31 nominees also receive up to $40,000 donated to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 7th Annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name (#WPMOYChallengeBozeman). The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide.

For more information on the Bradley & Nikki Bozeman Foundation, please visit:

www.bradnikkibozeman.com

More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at:

http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear